About the Author: Linda Kardamis is a teacher and writer who is passionate about helping other teachers be more effective. She is the author of Create Your Dream Classroom and blogs at Teach 4 the Heart. You can follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.
As teachers, we realize that discipline problems are just going to be part of our lives. Kids are kids, and they’re going to test the boundaries, make some bad decisions, and get themselves in trouble.
We spend lots of time discussing how to handle discipline problems, but there’s one key strategy we sometimes overlook: how to prevent them. Many (although not all) discipline problems can be prevented if you run your classroom well.
To prevent problems, concentrate on these areas:
1. Be organized. The more down time you have in your classroom, the more opportunities you give your students to misbehave. If you’re organized and keep the students busy the entire period, they won’t have as much time to get into mischief.
2. Be interesting. Keep your students engaged by making your subject matter come alive. Bored students start looking for something else to keep their interest, so don’t be boring. Even the most tedious tasks can become engaging when you teach them with high energy, creativity, and passion.
3. Have control procedures. Good procedures are key to success in the classroom, and control procedures in particular can really help prevent problems. Control procedures help students make the right choice by making the wrong choice more difficult. For example, don’t let your students grade their own papers. It’s just too tempting for them to cheat.
4. Deal with issues when they’re small. I didn’t do this my first year teaching, and I sure paid a high price. (I share that experience here.) What I learned, though, is that if you deal with issues when they are small, they typically won’t escalate into bigger issues. “Dealing with” a problem doesn’t necessarily mean handing out a punishment, but you must address the small misbehaviors with at
least a look, a prearranged signal, or a conversation with a student or the class.
5. Develop proper relationships with your students. The more your students know you genuinely care about them, the more they will want to learn in your classroom and the less they will want to cause trouble. But be careful – you shouldn’t be trying to be their friend (that will quickly backfire and create even more problems.) Instead, view yourself as their mentor.
These strategies go a long way to preventing discipline problemsin my classroom. What other
preventative strategies do you use?
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