Last night I had a dream that I have every once in a blue moon...
I dreamt that there was a student who was out of control that I simply could not get to comply. In the dream students where talking while I was talking, and this student was laughing and making noise. I remember being very angry and eventually yelling at the student and then suspending the student. It felt like a complete power struggle.
This dream isn't too far off from reality. I have had moments like this in the classroom. I remember students who have looked at me with complete hate in their eyes. I have seen students blow off my discipline with laughs and snarky remarks. I have seen myself loose my temper. (Note: 99% of the time after a power struggle these students and I end up having a great relationships).
A good friend of mine (and fellow teacher) told me that:
After many power struggles later that left me defeated, I believe him!
This fall, I have a different plan of action for discipline. I dabbled in these concepts a little last fall, and the effects where unbelievable. I could have a whole classroom of students look at me with undivided attention. I had students sweating as they sat grading their own conduct. I had students begging me make them go outside and run sprints and then come back in classroom so winded that they wouldn't talk the rest of class.
Of course I made mistakes (as you will find out, that's a given for me). However, just by applying a few of the following concepts, my classroom changed.
Here is my discipline plan for the fall:
I'm not going to have a long drawn out list of rules. I am going to have some classroom procedures (directed by I statements), but procedures are different than rules. Instead of rules, my classroom will be lead by these principles.
The principles are general enough that I won't have to have a specific rule for every situation. In the past I have had trouble keeping all my rules straight in my head. By using principles, I can apply them and adapt them to the different classroom situations I'll have to face.
If one of those principles is broken, their will be consequences. Instead of endless verbal warnings, I will give "the look" or a shoulder tap or a whisper in the ear "If you keep doing that, I will have to do something." That will be enough to take care of most problems.
If the class is out of control or if I can't figure out who is causing the problem, I will say "Heads down!" and all heads will go down on the desk. Here is where I get to capitalize on awkward silence (so much fun!).
When the students are calm we will continue with class.
If a particular student gives me enough trouble, the student will receive the following wonderful piece of pocket sized laminated paper (you got to love laminators). I will be sure to give it to them in a very subtle way as to not draw attention if they do not want to be noticed.
Here is what the front will say.
And the back....
Again, I am not completely naive. I understand that this will not go as smooth as I would like or perfect every time, but that is the beauty of this blog. I get to try something out and you get to reap the learning experiences in the successes and the failures. I'll let you know how it goes.
What would you do differently?