The dunce cap, a ruler on the knuckles, kneeling on rice: Modern teachers wouldn’t think of using these methods to correct students’ behavior. But for all the progress that schools have made in understanding and implementing effective discipline, teachers can still fall into bad habits that sabotage their own efforts to stay in command. In his recent edWebinar “Classroom Management Mistakes That Undermine Your Authority,” Shannon Holden, assistant principal at Republic Middle School in Missouri, explained the importance of establishing the teacher’s control from the first day of school and the common mistakes educators make when trying to maintain a productive educational environment.
1. Not having a seating chart on day one: This is the teacher’s opportunity to exercise authority from the beginning while also learning students’ names and the dynamics of the room.
2. Not having a discipline plan on day one: Similarly, teachers need to immediately show students that misbehavior won’t be tolerated and how poor choices will be treated. Except for severe cases that require a heightened response, all cases should follow the same hierarchy. For instance, a first offense might be a verbal warning, while a second offense would be a student-teacher conference. Every discipline plan should have a severe behavior clause for extenuating circumstances.
3. Listing unacceptable consequences: Discipline should be commensurate with the behavior and should not belittle or ridicule the student.
4. Getting creative with consequences: When teachers stray outside of typical discipline, one parent can easily protest and discredit the teacher. Teachers need to have the parents on their side, so the measures need to be something parents can understand and support.