Top 7 Classroom Systems That Reduce Teacher Stress

Implement these essential classroom systems so that your classroom runs smoother and you experience less stress.

Essential Classroom Systems

1. Functional Classroom Design

What type of classroom environment do you want to create? How do you envision it functioning?


  • How well will learners be able to move about the classroom?
  • Where will centers be done?
  • In which direction will the kids face when on the carpet during a read aloud?
  • How will student desks be arranged?
  • Are necessary materials readily accessible?
  • Is wall space utilized appropriately and focused on teaching/learning?

These are just a few questions that guide strategic classroom design.

Ideas to Try…

  • Adopt a minimalist classroom design. Keep things simple and functional.
  • Eliminate clutter.
  • Throw out materials and/or paperwork that no longer serve a genuine purpose.
  • Ask yourself, “What impression do I want to give to those who visit my room?”

2. Paper and Digital Organization

If not managed well, the constant influx of physical and digital information overwhelm.

Perfecting this classroom system keeps your room and email inbox tame.

Ideas to Try…

  • Get a hold of a few crates or boxes to stash away papers.
  • Declutter.
  • Archive old emails into digital folders, and strive to respond to work emails within 48 business hours.

Related: Discover more work-life balance tips for teachers that help keep job overwhelm to a minimum.

3. Preparation for the Unexpected, Emergencies, and “Unwritten Rules”

Some tasks aren’t on the brain until they happen.

Those little things add up to one big headache if you’re not prepared.

  • How will you handle student absences?
  • Is there a designated person to do laminating?
  • Where does the class go during fire drills?
  • Which lesson plans will the substitute use if you have an emergency?
  • Are there unwritten rules for how teachers should choose room parents?
  • For extended days out of school (e.g. natural disasters, etc.) is there a phone tree? What’s the process for communicating with parents and students?

The questions go on and on.

So round out your classroom systems with processes for handling unscheduled events.

Ideas to Try…

  • Ask a trusted person on staff about all the “little” things you should know regarding how the school operates.

4. Solid Classroom Management Plan

This is arguable the most important classroom system. If you don’t have a good handle on it, chaos ensues.

Ideas to Try…

  • Include administrators, counselors, and support teachers in your classroom management plan. They serve as a support system and offer assistance when needed.
  • Assign each learner a classroom helper job so that each will have a vested interest in maintaining class harmony.
  • Read or reread Harry Wong’s book, The First Days of School.
  • Collaborate with colleagues who have a similar classroom makeup as yours, and ask what strategies have worked for them.
  • Involve parents. When parents are on board, they help to reinforce the procedures and routines you’ve set. That further strengthens your foundation.

5. Scheduled Planning & Instruction

There are countless great lesson plans and activities available online.

Use what’s readily available, and tweak materials so that they fit the needs of your learners.

Ideas to Try…

  • Scope out low-prep, hands-on, higher-ordering thinking lessons.

6. Grading System

In addition to formal assessments, use informal tools to measure student progress.

Ideas to Try…

  • Utilize exit tickets as they’re quick, easy, and very insightful.
  • Occasionally use a stamp system to provide learner feedback.

A green stamp stands for “Great Job”.

Yellow is “Review – You Have a Few Errors”.

Red means  “What?! Please Redo.”

7. Back-to-School Prep

The beginning of the school year is the prefect time to introduce new procedures and routines.

Use this time to set the tone for the rest of the year.

Ideas to Try…

  • Take advantage of professional development opportunities that help strengthen any of your classroom systems.

Classroom Systems That Work

To have your teaching life run like a well-oiled machine, implement these 7 essential classroom systems.

Then experience what a positive difference they make for you and your students.