Disciplining with Dignity, Teaching with Dignity

New Teacher Guide - Disciplining with Dignity, Teaching with Dignity

  • When first picking up students on the playground, take the time to set standards and give expectations again in sets of 3, which students easily retain! (“I need to see two straight lines, eyes straight ahead, mouths closed.”)
  • Being able to nimbly turn around and walk backwards is a nifty control technique. Students are always intrigued at the teacher's ability to watch them while walking backwards and not running into a pole…
  • Matter-of-factly, without pouring on the syrup, commend the students as they meet your stated expectations: “Both lines are quiet and look good.”
  • At the classroom door, state your 3 expectations for the students entering the room. “Thank you for putting the chairs down, getting out your homework, and saying in your seats.” Think about what it is you need to take care of opening activities. If you have time to put up a sponge activity before the students enter, they may focus on completing that while you complete taking attendance.
  • Are the classroom rules posted? If they are, take the time now to discuss them with the class as you circulate around the room. Ask the students to raise their hand and wait to be called upon before speaking, then call upon and commend a student who does exactly that: “Thank you, Maria, for raising your hand. What is that first rule important?”.
  • You may not have a seating chart available, or you may not see nameplates on the students’ desks, in which case index cards would be handy. Remember, using the student's’ names whenever possible validates and affirms them as well as holds them accountable.
  • Discuss the positive and negative consequences of our choices regarding the rules. If consequences are posted, call upon students to read them aloud to the rest of the class. When discussing the negative consequences, this is an appropriate time to hold up the red tickets and referral forms, just to gently let the class know you know where they are and will not hesitate to use them… if consequences are not posted, again establish appropriate and reasonable consequences (both positive and negative) prior to beginning the first formal lesson of the morning. You are setting the foundation for the day. It is worth taking the time now to clearly define the rules for the class.
  • Whenever there is a “scene change,” state your next expectations (again no more than three). “Heads up, listen up, pencils down,” or “Eyes and ears on me, pencils down.” Both work nicely when you need the attention of the whole class. Don’t forget to commend them as you circulate: “This table looks very good, thank you. Now all tables look good.” if it is time for recess, state what you need in order for the students to be able to line up. “When I dismiss you by quiet rows, please push in your chairs and walk to the line.”
  • Scene changes which need expectations:
    • Walking students out to recess
    • Picking up students after recess
    • Entering the room after recess
    • Subject changes in the room (different books, paper)
    • Lining up for lunch and walking to the lunch line quietly
    • Picking up students after lunch and returning to the classroom
    • Entering the room after lunch
    • Afternoon subjects
    • Homework
    • Getting read for dismissal: work areas straightened, floors picked up, and chairs up
  • Throughout the day, consistently and matter of factly praise students individually and collectively who meet your stated expectations. Just as consistently and matter of factly, hold students accountable who disrupt your teaching.

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