Any experienced teacher will know good discipline does not just happen all at once. Managing student behavior is a learned skill, but classroom control will begin before the students even enter the classroom. Managing student behavior is no easy task. Each teacher will develop his or her own form of discipline. Remember that students need to feel valued and welcomed. They need to know that you have an honest interest in each one of them, not only as a class, but also as individuals. For good discipline, certain behaviors are necessary on the part of the teacher:
- Be consistent; establish the rules and stick to them.
- Consequences should be fair and consistently applied.
- Be prepared for the students who will test the rules.
- Do not threaten students with a consequence unless you are ready to carry it out. Students will view you as inconsistent if you fail to do what you say.
- Do not be judgmental; look at each situation from all angles before you designate a consequence.
- Never put off discipline. Handle any behavioral problem when it occurs.
- Make sure students understand the rules and the consequences. Students need to know how to behave in any given situation. With some students, you may want to do role-playing at the beginning of the school year. In this way, students will see what is expected of them and see the consequences being applied.
- Show a true interest in all of the students. Each one needs to be treated as an individual and with respect, not just another student. When giving praise to any student, use his or her name with the praise. Nothing pleases students more than to hear their names used in a good light.
- Implement well-planned lessons. Know what you are going to teach and be well prepared.
- Allow for flexibility. There will be many interruptions in a school year; you will not accomplish everything that is planned on a particular day.
For more tips on managing student behavior, check out the book, Year-Round Classroom Tips.