10 Ways to Improve Your Class Climate With Simple Rewards and Incentives

Some people think that high school students are too old for incentives and rewards. After teaching high school English for the last 10 years, I can attest to the fact that it's just not true! They love it just as much as any other grade level - believe it or not!

Motivation is the main reason for the incentive. Different from the need in elementary, but nonetheless, you're dealing with emotional teens and making them happy is helpful to any teacher.

Here are a few things high school students can either be rewarded for or rewarded with:

1. Stickers: I don't believe it truly matters what type of sticker you give a student. They seem to ALWAYS make my students smile. They love to compare their stickers with their friends. Who knew?

It's official. I have enough stickers to last me a lifetime of teaching!
2. Free time: Students LOVE technology, but hate that they can't use it 24/7. Reward a student with 10-15 minutes at the end of a class period with free time on a tablet or computer. Better yet, READING time!

3. Music/cell phone: Similar to free time, reward a student with the ability to listen to music with their headphones during independent work or towards the end of a class period. Sometimes I play music for the entire class while they work - they all seem to enjoy a little background noise!

4. Snacks: What student is going to pass up free snacks? None! Chips, pretzels, small chocolates, lollipops, it doesn't matter! You have hungry teens! They are happy with a small boost of sugar or salt.

5. Homework pass: It is a fact that students don't ALWAYS do their homework. It happens and they hate being punished for it. Reward them with one homework pass to use once a semester for a good deed you witnessed them do.

6. Helping a classmate: Did you catch a student helping out a classmate with homework? Or sitting together at lunch reviewing or studying with a peer? That deserves to be rewarded, and that rewarded could come as a simple, "Wow! Great job!"

7. Cleaning up: Teens are messy individuals. Reward students when you see them cleaning up a classroom, tidying up in the cafeteria or hallway. Again, sometimes a small compliment can go a long way! They will remember.

8. Improved tardiness: Being late to school and to class is a major problem is every school. Rewarding those habitual offenders who are trying their best to improve being late with further motivate them to keep coming on time. Click HERE for a blog post about how I managed to get students to get my students class on time!

9. Grade improvement: Students hate with their grades slip almost as much as we do. Reward those students who are trying their best and working harder to improve their grade (extra help, peer tutoring, etc.)

10. Standing up against bullying: Have you witnessed a student doing the right thing when they see a peer being bullied? This definitely deserves to be rewarded. It is a hard thing for a student to do, even though they know it's the right thing to do. Let their classmates know you witnessed something brave - it will catch on!

These are all simple and easy things that students can be rewarded with and for. Keeping high school students happy is no easy task, that's for sure. Anything teachers can do to improve positive behavior and happiness in a classroom is worth the effort, no matter how small it may seem to be.

What rewards have worked in your classroom?


  1. Hey this is a really good post. My kid is going to love this. Thanks a bunch for sharing it online with all of us here and please do keep up the amazing work that you are doing here.

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  2. Teens are messy individuals. Reward students when you see them cleaning up a classroom, tidying up in the cafeteria or hallway. Again, sometimes a small compliment can go a long way! They will remember.Honda Brv Car Parts In Pakistan
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  3. Very informative post ! There is a lot of information here that can help any school manegment & get started with a successful clean school!

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