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A teacher cannot begin to teach without an acceptable level of classroom discipline. Maintain classroom discipline, and you will feed the learning process. Classroom discipline comes first.
There are many misconceptions about this topic. First, let's talk about what classroom discipline is not.
Classroom discipline is not:
Classroom management. Read the article on classroom management. It is not Strictly a punishment system.
Nor is it strictly a reward system. No screaming, yelling, or any other confrontational behavior. It's not a list of don'ts, a cure-all for teaching woes, or to eat up valuable class time.
Classroom discipline is: A companion to classroom management, part of a routine class session, and a system to maintain desired behaviors.
Never scream, yell, or be in a student's face. You will not maintain classroom discipline this way. You will only wear out your jaw muscles, get headaches, and be a bundle of nerves at the end of the day.
And then, you will dread tomorrow. In fact, a teacher should practice actively relaxing his or her jaw muscles, and avoid teeth clenching. If you make a note of this throughout the day, you will realize just how much you have a tendency to do these things.
Do not make a list of rules. Students already know them. The school has rules. Rules are a dime a dozen. In fact, if you do not have a list of rules, you will never be held accountable to keep or enforce them yourself! And what if you miss one? Students will bend rules and dare you to enforce them.
Or worse yet. They will break a rule not on your list and then laugh as you cannot enforce a rule that you forgot to write down. So please, just forget a list. If you insist on a list, you can refer to the section just after this one. But please, read the rest of this and think twice.
Classroom discipline starts on the first day, and continues each and every day. The first day of school, begin each class by simply saying that you expect each and every student to be in class, on time, ready to work, and that you expect the utmost respect from them and how they treat each other. Nuff said. That's it. Each and every little rule cannot be written. But all desired behaviors are in that previous statement. Make that statement part of your opening class routine.
But I really like and want a list! Okay. You just heard them!
1) Be in class on time and fully prepared to work.
2) Respect will be given to all parties at all times in this classroom
Your classroom management must be mastered before you can begin to have discipline This needs to be stressed again. Please read the article titled, Classroom Management.
So, what do I do for classroom discipline?
Sorry, there is no one-size-fits-all for classroom discipline. There is no cure-all for classroom discipline. There are no magic words that will solve classroom discipline. No other teacher has the answers for your classroom discipline either. Classroom discipline cannot be taught in your teacher education classes. No matter what you have been told. It is a lie. Nobody is going to give you the skills for classroom discipline except......yourself! This is not a revelation for most of you. If you are reading this article, you have probably read and heard countless cures for classroom discipline. I am one of the few who will tell you the truth.
But there is hope! Meet teachers. Ask questions. Sit in on successful teacher's classrooms. Watch and learn. Realize, however, that every classroom teacher has their own way for classroom discipline. It is only to be used a guide for you. Too many teachers accept what other teachers are doing, implement it, and then wonder why it fails. It fails because each and every teacher, classroom, setting, etc., are different! Glean ideas and try them. You will find ones that work, and ones that don't. Over time, you will develop classroom discipline skills that will transfer your classroom into a fantastic learning environment.
That said, we will not leave it there for classroom discipline. We will try and come up with a few ideas that should be incorporated into every classroom discipline plan.
First, you must realize that real classrooms are not like the movies. You will not change the world. You will not make students behave by just a few tricks. Your students will not all become lifelong learners. The quicker you get this out of your mind, the better. Yes, they are worth striving for. But reality must set in.