Discipline Advice and Friendship

MoonRivers

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Joined
Mar 9, 2018
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English Teacher
Native Language
Spanish
Home Country
Puerto Rico
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Puerto Rico
Hi, I am an English teacher, and despite having entirely dedicated myself these past 5 months, I noticed classroom discipline is an area where I could really improve. I'd like to know if any experienced teachers/former teachers here have any tips for establishing classroom discipline. In all honesty, I guess I am clueless on the way it is supposed to be implemented, or even WHAT exactly should be implemented. Over the past hour, I've been searching for books to read on the topic, but I'm afraid that perhaps that's not going far enough. So, besides asking for possible posts here as to opinions on what classroom discipline should be from beginning to end, I'm also reaching out to ask for friendship-mentorship, if anyone has the time and is cool with letting an inexperienced teacher pick their brain and form that kind of bond. Usually, I keep to myself, but teaching is one area where I've realized that college doesn't go far enough, and you have to reach out to others in order to learn. So, I wouldn't mind making a new friend who has that same interest or profession! You're free to send me a PM!
 

emsr2d2

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British English
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What age group are you teaching?
 

emsr2d2

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How many students are in each class? Does the school use "standard" disciplinary measures that can be meted out - detention, extra homework etc?
 

MoonRivers

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Joined
Mar 9, 2018
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Spanish
Home Country
Puerto Rico
Current Location
Puerto Rico
How many students are in each class? Does the school use "standard" disciplinary measures that can be meted out - detention, extra homework etc?

Where I live, discipline is mostly a teacher-centered task, and we do not have detention. Homework always works against the teacher, as well. On my island, classrooms can range anywhere from 22 students to mid 30's. The teacher is expected to "control" the classroom and use school resources (like speaking with higher-ups) only as a last resort. If a teacher has to resort to that, he or she is already in a losing position because schools in general, of course, want to keep parents happy. So, by way of personality and stylistic structure, a teacher is supposed to gain the respect of his or her students.

In my case, I've found that my personality is "too nice". On the other hand, I'm not comfortable with the "intimidation" method, nor do I even know how that credibly functions without administrative help. It leaves me in a jam. Despite knowing a bit about my subject, my attempts are fruitless if no one listens to me. It's quite frustrating to feel that you could do well but simply don't due to discipline. I'm at a turning point in my life where teaching is almost the only viable option for progress, yet if I cannot control the groups I'll teach, I won't have much of a choice but to start my life all over again in random jobs. It's a mess, and that's why I'm asking for help.
 

TheParser

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opinions on what classroom discipline should be from beginning to end.


Hello, MoonRivers:

1. I am neither a teacher nor a language expert, but I had forty years' experience dealing with secondary students and six years' experience dealing with adult students.

So I hope that I am allowed to share my opinions with you.

a. How you start your class each day will set the tone for the entire period. As your students enter your room, they should have some kind of activity. There can be a quotation on the black-, whiteboard for them to copy, for example. In other words, before the tardy bell rings, think of some activity that quiets them down and gets them into the mood to study.

b. Ending your class each day is equally important. You might think about ending each period with a quiz. You could write a few questions on the board or give them duplicated quiz sheets. When the dismissal bell rings, each student then gives you his/her quiz answers as s/he leaves your classroom in an orderly fashion.

c. They say that being positive is better than being negative. So you might award points for good class behavior that day. E.g., 5 points if the class was really orderly that day and 1 point if it was disorderly. When the class earns (let us say) 25 points, you could give them a reward (bring a box of doughnuts to class for everyone, skip homework for that day, let them listen to music that day, etc.).

d. Above all, from the very first day tell them that you will be assigning seats and that you may change them frequently. Make it clear that you have the authority to decide who sits where. Whenever you notice a group of students who talk to one another too much, immediately separate them the next day.
 

MoonRivers

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2018
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Spanish
Home Country
Puerto Rico
Current Location
Puerto Rico
Hello, MoonRivers:

1. I am neither a teacher nor a language expert, but I had forty years' experience dealing with secondary students and six years' experience dealing with adult students.

So I hope that I am allowed to share my opinions with you.

a. How you start your class each day will set the tone for the entire period. As your students enter your room, they should have some kind of activity. There can be a quotation on the black-, whiteboard for them to copy, for example. In other words, before the tardy bell rings, think of some activity that quiets them down and gets them into the mood to study.

b. Ending your class each day is equally important. You might think about ending each period with a quiz. You could write a few questions on the board or give them duplicated quiz sheets. When the dismissal bell rings, each student then gives you his/her quiz answers as s/he leaves your classroom in an orderly fashion.

c. They say that being positive is better than being negative. So you might award points for good class behavior that day. E.g., 5 points if the class was really orderly that day and 1 point if it was disorderly. When the class earns (let us say) 25 points, you could give them a reward (bring a box of doughnuts to class for everyone, skip homework for that day, let them listen to music that day, etc.).

d. Above all, from the very first day tell them that you will be assigning seats and that you may change them frequently. Make it clear that you have the authority to decide who sits where. Whenever you notice a group of students who talk to one another too much, immediately separate them the next day.

I see what you're saying; those are definitely good tips. I wish there were a way, though, to know how to deal with situations like when students come in talking, because having work on the board doesn't mean they will necessarily do it. I've ordered a book and hope to find something that can help me demystify the entire disciplinary process. If I can't, then that's a mess.
 

TheParser

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Dec 8, 2009
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Other
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English
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United States
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United States
NOT A TEACHER

MoonRivers:

As a new member, perhaps you have not noticed the section entitled "Similar Threads" that follows the last post in this thread.

As you can see, there are links to five previous threads on the topic of discipline. I suggest that you read all of them.

You may find a few helpful gems of advice.
 

MoonRivers

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2018
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Spanish
Home Country
Puerto Rico
Current Location
Puerto Rico
NOT A TEACHER

MoonRivers:

As a new member, perhaps you have not noticed the section entitled "Similar Threads" that follows the last post in this thread.

As you can see, there are links to five previous threads on the topic of discipline. I suggest that you read all of them.

You may find a few helpful gems of advice.

I did, and there was one thread which was interesting, but I haven't yet found what I'm looking for. Thanks, though!
 

emsr2d2

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Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
I see what you're saying; those are definitely good tips. I wish there were a way, though, to know how to deal with situations like when students come in talking, because having work on the board doesn't mean they will necessarily do it. I've ordered a book and hope to find something that can help me demystify the entire disciplinary process. If I can't, then that's a mess.

Could you stand at the door and greet each student by name as they enter, handing them a slip of paper with something like an English quiz question, a riddle, or perhaps a word that you're going to ask them to use in a sentence later in the lesson? Each slip of paper would have something different on, obviously!

Greeting them individually by name and making it clear that you expect a response should interrupt any conversation they're already having with another student.

I certainly agree with The Parser's suggestion of changing the seating arrangements on a regular basis.
 
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