Skip to Content

Website Optimization is Like Classroom Management

A lucky 7-up bottle in Yunyang, China. In the classroom and on my websites, we seek the lucky combination of factors to go UP in performance!
A lucky 7-Up bottle in Yunyang, China. In the classroom and on my websites, we experiment to find the lucky (and often elusive) combination of factors to go UP-ward in performance.

“I’ve been trying so many things to get my students quiet so I can teach!” exclaimed a Boston-area fellow teacher, Carl, yesterday. “I tried yelling for attention all last year. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.”

I nodded, having been there myself. Carl continued. “This month I’m experimenting with just stopping and staring at kids who begin side conversations. I’ll just wait, and LOOK at them. Sometimes I’ll even murmur quietly:

“Hey, I wonder how long it will take for them to notice I am trying to teach? Hmm… I see some great students starting to pay attention…. Excellent, now everyone is focused again.”

What "experiments" were performed before the food artists in Yunyang came up with this optimally hilarious packaging?
What “experiments” were performed before the food artists in Yunyang came up with this optimally hilarious packaging? (Yes, these photos are barely related to the topic of the article, but I dig them.)

“That worked so-so, but what I loved is we all ended up less exhausted than when I was screaming.”

“You know what tactic I enjoy?” I giggled. “I just keep stopping a sentence and re-starting it over and over until students realize you need them silent. It’s deliciously annoying, and really effective!”

“I think I’ll experiment this week with snapping and clapping routines to get the kids quiet,” exclaimed Carl. “You know: “If you can hear me, clap once!”

All this experimenting is adding new tools to our Teacher Toolkit, I mused. We tinker and try different tactics in the classroom until we land upon the specific combination of Classroom Management strategies that works perfectly for us.”

Then a light bulb went off in my head. “HEY!” I exclaimed, “Experimenting with Classroom Management in teaching is exactly like what’s going on with me and my websites now as a Blogger!”

Yum... Mungbean yogurt in Yunyang, China!
Yum… Mungbean yogurt in Yunyang, China. Is that the perfect combination of ingredient settings to make your belly happy?

“Huh?” queried my friend, perplexed.

You see, if anyone were to have been spying on me since the March 4 Dreamhost webserver crash, they would have seen me hunched over my computer for hours upon hours each day, desperately trying to find the right combination of Plugins, Server Settings, Cloudflare Options, CDNs, W3 Total Cache buttons, and more to make my two websites race at the speed I long them to achieve.

And the quest continues. Which magical combination of settings will finally get rid of the error messages and sluggishness that have been driving me batty since March 4?

Website Speed Optimization is fascinating, infuriating, and infatuating.

I can’t stop working on it or obsessing about it, and I don’t want to. For those of you who don’t know how Site Optimization works, you have NO IDEA what an insane, deep, dark world it is… and that’s why I like it.

Are cucumber-flavored potato chips the perfect combo?
Are cucumber-flavored potato chips the perfect combo?

Each night I have been poring over dense online tutorials, changing this setting, downloading that one, running speed tests, and exchanging countless emails with tech support gurus.

Here’s an example of the instructions on just ONE of the countless settings I’ve been toying with:

Select manual mode to use fields on the minify settings tab to specify files to be minified, otherwise files will be minified automatically, but will not use the CDN.”

So what do you think? Should I switch it on or off? :)

It is rare to find such a complex, engaging puzzle in life… unless you’re a Teacher!

Finding the perfect combination of “tools” and “settings” to optimize Classroom Management as a Teacher, or Website Speed as a Blogger: these are two quests to challenge the brain and the soul!

So… Optimization: that’s what I’ve been up to with my time. That and planning a wedding, among a few other things that keep me busy! :)

Not sure what this is. Hopefully not penguin.
Not sure what this is. Hopefully not penguin. There’s another puzzle for the brain: Mystery food in a country whose language you can’t read!

I’d love to hear in the Comments section if you have any experience and tips for either Classroom Management or Website Optimization, and if you have any feedback on the ever-evolving layout and speed of my sites!

As of 3/20/12, I’ve worked out a bunch of bugs on both of my sites, so the speed should be medium-paced, but it’s still much slower than what I’m working towards, so stay tuned.

May we use our brains to the maximum, and solve whatever we strive hard enough to puzzle out!

Want more photos and facts about Cultural Differences in grocery stores in China (including live chickens and non-live chicken feet)? Click here!

Want to see a bunch more articles about Blogging and Technology? Click here!


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Kate H.

Tuesday 8th of September 2015

I enjoyed your article, Lillie! As a new blogger, I understand your frustration with website optimization. Next time I get frustrated, I'll think about it in the classroom management context. After all, I would not just give up on my students like I would with technology. I would persevere to bring forth the results I'm looking for. Being adaptable is necessary for teachers and bloggers alike!

Carl's optimism and willingness to try new methods of classroom management is refreshing. I believe it is essential for teachers to experiment with different strategies when one is not working out. The fact that Carl sees that he can do more for his students this way is great awareness of potential.


Tuesday 8th of September 2015



Saturday 29th of September 2012

Did anyone read the article or was that just me? Everyone is chatting the pictures. Do yanks really call yoghurt yogert??? Anyway loved the article. I like finger clicking to get kids to be silent. Click out a tune. Or if one pupil is being particularly bothersome you can get them to hold your hand at the front of class. They don't like that at all.

As for website optimisation I couldn't tell you much about that so I'll have to take your word on it!


Saturday 29th of September 2012

George, bless you for reading instead of just skimming photos! :) Love your classroom management tips.

Qiyin Y.

Saturday 16th of June 2012

Ms. Marshall, the second picture is sausage. ^.^ Also the last picture is also sausage based on China's "Facebook", QQ. The second picture are pork sausages and the last picture is flavored with pepper.

Abbie Y.

Monday 14th of May 2012

I would like to try some of those candies. Long time ago, they used to sell them with a plastic bag but now they put it in a bag with designs on it. How much does a candy cost or chips?


Monday 14th of May 2012

In general, food costs less in China than in the U.S.

Gia D

Monday 30th of April 2012

Ms. Marshall, I find it really cool that everything is in Chinese words. How did you know what each was? Going to China must have been fun.


Thursday 25th of October 2012

Great post. I liked the different ideas on how to engage students in the beginning. Very helpful. Keep up the great work! We love Boston teachers.


Monday 30th of April 2012

You can often infer what a food is from the pictures... But it doesn't always work!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.