Bad behavior is a snowball effect—it grows and grows until it can’t be stopped. If teachers don’t have a system in place for addressing that behavior from the beginning of the year, they will appear to have a lack of credibility and authority. In his recent edWebinar, Shannon Holden, assistant principal of Republic Middle School in Missouri, went over essentials for setting the school year up for success by starting out on right foot.
Out-of-control behavior ultimately begins when teachers are afraid to rock the boat. They must be confident about following through with consequences in class and speaking to parents about a student’s misbehavior. Otherwise, students may start to take advantage of the lack of consequences. To maintain good behavior in the classroom, set a standard at the beginning of the year; that action plan should include a system for addressing off-task behavior, contacting parents, and a way to document what is happening.
Ideally, this plan begins on the first day of school and includes having a seating chart, a KWL chart (know, what to know, learn), a discipline plan, and student information sheets. While having a seating chart may not seem like a big deal, it is crucial for maintaining a position of authority. Taking attendance from a list every day runs the risk of looking unorganized. A seating chart, on the other hand, is an easy way to maintain order and keep track of everyone.
Next, a KWL chart will help provide an understanding of how students will interact in class. For example, if a student answers that they know nothing and want to know nothing, that could indicate which students may need more attention behavior-wise later on.