I came into this year with a plan for EVERYTHING. I had all of my procedures outlined, and a pretty good idea how I'd be starting the school year. I have a teaching style that generally most kids love, and causes me to be a popular teacher, (though I'm worried about being too popular). I am trying to be very consistent and strict about getting work done in class however, and this year we are doing a TON with organization in my classroom. The year started off great. The kids were quiet, and listened to me, and we got work done, and I was consistently giving out consequences when rules were broken. I believe I am stopping instruction to deal with blurting and side conversations frequently and consistently, but lately it's gotten pretty bad. Students know they should start on the kick-off question as soon as the bell rings, but I constantly have to remind them to remain quiet during the kick-off, and almost cajole them into having their binders out by the time the bell rings. The thing is that it seems like a familiar pattern from last year. I continually stop and hold instruction, and it stops, but begins again as soon as I begin talking again. I am afraid that I am not catching it every single time that it happens, and I went and observed a classroom today of another teacher who is an AMAZING teacher (I will watch her frequently) and she was holding a discussion in her classroom that was so mild-mannered it was almost artistically beautiful. I took notes on some things she did, but I feel that she might just have a natural manner about her that simply causes kids to take her seriously when she tells them that "we don't shout out answers in class". I think part of my problem is that a lot of my lessons aren't as well prepared as I'd like them to be. I always have to end up changing things by the end of the day, and I frequently get mixed up when too many things are going on. Another issue I might have is that I am young, and students think that means they can be friendly with me. I do enjoy bantering with students, but this ends up leading to disruption in instruction time (i.e. when a student says something witty and I respond wittily back, and everyone laughs), and while I'm talking with one or two students about a question that I find interesting, other students begin talking to each other and don't listen to the conversation. I really REALLY want to be on top of my classroom management, and I don't want it to slip, but I don't know how I can ensure that I keep on top of it. It's difficult to have it all down this first year.