Have you been struggling with Johnny or Sally since the beginning of the school year? Have you been racking your brain trying to come up with some creative ways to turn their unacceptable behavior around? Did you dread coming back to work in January? Well, I’ve been there and know exactly how you feel. If you said yes to any of these questions, I can give you a hand.
For starters, when you have a chance, read the book Discipline Without Tears by Dr. Rudolg Dreikurs. “It provides a clear, constructive outline of his proven strategies for dealing with a wide range of childhood misbehaviors. Believing that children are social beings who want to belong, Dreikurs stresses encouragement, cooperation, and firm control in a democratic alliance of parents, teachers and children.” Dreiker’s book has had a long lasting effect on me and my discipline techniques were based on what he said and I would highly recommend reading it. You’ll be glad you did because it will give you a new perspective for disciplining your students.
Now that half the year is over, you know your students quite well now, but let’s face it, some kids will always get under your skin. You can deal with it, you’re the teacher, so gather that inner strength, and make one of your New Year’s Resolutions to get these kids on the right track.
1. Let your students know that you care about them. Talk to them, find out what is going on in their lives. Are they from a broken home, did one of their parents die, are they going through a divorce, is there drug abuse in their family? There are so many reasons why children act out and these are only a few. I always try to put myself in their shoes and know that if I was going through some of the things that they’re dealing with I wouldn’t be able to concentrate or listen during class. I’d be thinking about the pain that I was going through. Many times kids will act out because they need attention that they don’t get at home. You might be the only one who takes the time to listen. This is why I love holding morning meetings. They can get what might be bothering them off their chests and be able to settle down for the rest of the day. It will make your life and theirs so much easier. Once the kids realize that you’re there for them and you have their best interest in mind, they will do anything that you want, which includes appropriate behavior. OH, I almost forgot, during homeroom period I conference with each student. There’s a chart at the front of the room with dates and times, the kids sign up and we just chat for 10-5 minutes.
2. I’ve found that the kids want discipline, they want to follow rules, this helps to make them feel safe and secure. They like knowing what’s expected of them. Ask what would happen if there were no rules. Most of them will say that nothing would get done, or that there would be chaos with everyone doing what they wanted. Then spend time setting up classroom rules with them. Ask for ideas, write them on the board, then vote for the ones that you all think are important. Help them to come up with consequences for their actions. This way, the kids will be heard, they will be making their own rules and most will follow them.
3. Be fair, set up consequences that fit the crime so to speak. Make sure that all of the children are treated the same way. One rule that I’ve found to be very effective is 3 strikes and you’re out. If you have to talk to a child 3 times during one period, there’s a consequence, if he/she misses 3 home works in a semester, there’s a consequence, if he or she is disrespectful, or bothers another child, there’s a consequence, and so on. Be consistent, don’t give them chance after chance, they know the rules and if they choose not to follow them, it’s their decision. NEVER show favoritism, the rules are for everyone. Let’s face it, we’re all human, we like some kids more than others, the trick is not to let them know. We don’t want to hear, ”Mrs. Smith likes Johnny better than me. He can do anything he wants and never gets in trouble. Be firm, don’t raise your voice, let them know that you are in control in a kind and loving way.
4. Keep in close contact with parents and or guardians. Parents want to know when their little one has broken a rule, but they also like to hear when they’ve shown good behavior, aced a test, did a fantastic job on homework, or have been kind to another student. Send a home happy gram ( I have them in my Behavior Modification Binder which you can check out below), let everyone know how pleased you are. This helps establish a good rapport with both parents and kids. They’ll know you care and realize you want what’s best for everyone involved. It will make your life so much easier. After grading a test, I’ll write a note to the student about how they did. Even if they fail, I will always write something positive.
5. Lets say Sean is a needy child who constantly requires your attention, he’s disruptive, causes arguments with others, can be a bully, you know the type. Sometimes the best way to deal with this behavior is to ignore it, and you need to teach the rest of the class to do this by rewarding them for not paying attention to him. Peer pressure can truly be effective since everyone wants to be accepted. If the rest of the class really gets disgusted with Sean, some of them may actually talk with him about his actions, and this is more effective than you having to say something. This technique will work if the kids know that you care for them since their ultimate goal is to learn.
6. I read a post on Facebook from a teacher who was bored teaching ancient history. This kind of floored me because I really disliked ancient history until I started teaching it. If you’re bored, you knoooow that your students are bored too. So….what should you do about it??? You need to make lessons exciting, challenging and fun. If you just read from a book and answer questions you’re going to turn them off. You know what happens next?! You got it, there’ll be behavior problems. If you haven’t come up with STEM/STEAM projects, or PBL activities, you should really look into them. They truly are the way to your kiddo’s hearts and yours, once they begin to love what they’re learning, you’ll love teaching them. annnd you know what, many of the behavior issues will diminish. I used to get so psyched coming up with new lessons, I couldn’t wait to get to school to use them with my kids.
As teachers, we know it ain’t easy, especially in today’s world. But you knew that, even before you had your own classroom. Take heart, kids want to be disciplined, most do want to learn, they don’t like a chaotic classroom where you have to spend most of your time with those disruptive students. If these ideas have helped, I’d love for you to join my email list and get access to my FREEBIES as well as all sorts of Teaching Tips.
Have a wonderful 2018
Here are a few engaging and fun resources to help you get through this long winter. Click on the images to see them.
This post is part of our Teacher Talk January Link-up…
Be sure to check out the rest of these posts from our teacher authors.