During the 12 years I have taught, with every lesson plan I develop I try to have classroom discipline in mind. Teaching is so complex. How big the class is, how would a particular group of kids react to a given activity. There is never one right answer to the many challenges we face every day.
I have started collecting all of my classroom discipline ideas on this page of the blog. However, today I thought a different topic is in order.
There are lots of classroom discipline myths out there. Could they be nothing but an excuse for putting the responsibility elsewhere?
Here is the deal: There are NO excuses for working on classroom discipline. It is just a skill like everything else! You don’t expect the students to have it. You have to teach it!
We are not just teachers! We have embarked on a social challenge of developing ALL kinds of young people. With that come lots of challenges and the need for flexibility. What does not come from home needs to be taught at school!
So with this in mind, let me share the three most common classroom discipline myths I see. Help me out to expand the article: if you feel there are others, by all means, share your thought in the comments!
The 3 Top Discipline Myths Debunked
Classroom Discipline Myth #1
Discipline has to do with my crowd control skills, not with the way I deliver instruction.
Classroom discipline has EVERYTHING to do with the way you deliver your instruction, from how you schedule your activities to the transitions between activities. The way a teacher delivers the lesson always has a direct impact on the student behavior. The transitions between activities play a huge role in keeping a classroom quiet especially at the elementary and middle school levels. Not sufficient explanation of the material will lead to more student talk. Even the intonation of the teacher voice affects the students behavior! In this article about classroom discipline I talk about the 4 thing a that help me keep in check when I watch my instruction. Every classroom discipline trick has a short challenge that a teacher can check if they are doing or not.
Classroom Discipline Myth #2
If I move to teach in a school with higher socio-economics, the students will respect me more.
That may happen. But you may also end up having a very different set of challenges with a different socio-economic group. You may have to deal with entitlement, students and parents who don’t respect boundaries. Every teaching situation present different challenges. NONE of them are easy! There simply isn’t such a thing as an easy teaching position.
Stepping in a new situation also opens new challenges. When you have taught in the same school for many years, there is a consistency that is being built with that. You develop your expectations, the students get to know you, and things usually go smoother.
But I believe there something very important when we talk about the socio-economics of a school. It is important to know who YOU are as a teacher, what your background is and why you came to the profession. Matching your own background and beliefs to the school you teach is really the best scenario.
For example, I came here as an immigrant. Well…I am from Bulgaria and there aren’t so many Bulgarian children around. However, I understand the needs of families from difference backgrounds. I feel very comfortable talking to ten helping them and making a connection. This realization has made working with difficult families seem less of a burden and more of a challenge and calling.
This year I am moving schools. It has been as emotional as it is difficult to leave a place I have been for many years. I am also gong to a high school which incorporates so many of the music things I want to do with my students. I feel it does fit who I am as a person a bit better than my old position. So I am very excited about it!
My best advice? Find your identity as a teacher first! Then think of the type of students you will be best at helping!
Classroom Discipline #3
The students are misbehaved at the beginning of the year. They get better as the time goes on.
Quite the opposite! If you are an experienced education you may even laugh for putting this as one of the myths, But you will be amazed how many people think exactly that.
The kids are best behaved during the first day of school. They are in a new environment, they are checking out the new situation, the boundaries and expectations. However, if you don’t set clear expectations at the very beginning of the school year, you may be in for a big surprise when October comes.
A great book to help with setting great classroom discipline form the very beginning is The First 20 Days of School by Harry Wong. It is a popular book for a reason. It has lots of very helpful tips and specific steps for setting the school year right. I do feel that every teacher should own that book.
More Classroom Discipline Myths? What Did I Miss?
Share In The Comments!
Don’t Forget To Check Our Other Popular Articles on Classroom Discipline:
- 3 Steps for Scripting a Phone Call to a Parent
- 4 Tips to Improve the Focus and Behavior of Your Students
- My Biggest Mistake as a Teacher
- How to Handle Six Disrespectful Students in One Class