Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fair and Consistent Wins the Race

disciplineIn Focus on the Positive and For Heaven’s Sake, Stop Lecturing! from Tips For New Teachers and Student Teachers, Sam shares,

“Students need to know that there are specific consequences for their poor behavior. Don’t lecture. Don’t give out more than one warning. Don’t ignore the behavior. Don’t spend a lot of time on dealing with the disruption.”

I think the bottom line is that a teacher needs to be fair and consistent at all times, even if it is hard to do.
I have had students that I want to give “one more chance” or I want to let it go because I’m so exhausted. But then I realize if I do this, than my whole discipline plan will go out the window. I will be setting a precedent for future discipline problems because if I let it slide this time, than others will expect the same treatment when it is their “turn.”

Sam states that we shouldn’t ignore behavior but I disagree with this. Many times my students act out to get attention. They are happy with negative attention as much as positive attention. The trick is to know the fine line between ignoring the behavior and addressing the behavior. I believe it all depends on the student. Sometimes it is possible to ignore the behavior and the student stops acting out. But if I ignore the behavior I need to make sure that the other students believe that I have no idea that the behavior is going on. If it is blatant and noticeable, I have to address it so the students can see that I am fair and consistent.

Sometimes students will test to see if you are being fair and consistent. They like to test their limits. When they have had a substitute in other classes, I have heard them talk about how they acted out to see what the sub would do. This shows me that they know what they are doing and why they do it.

I have had younger students tell me that they hate me when I discipline them. As a new teacher, this hurt my feelings because I wanted them to like me but I stuck to my discipline plan. Students have enough friends and I need to be their teacher, not their friend. It is okay for them to not like me. These same students at the end of the year hugged me goodbye. They were able to see that I was being fair and consistent rather than treating different students differently according to who I liked more or less.

How are you fair and consistent in your class? What do you struggle with? Please share.

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