When students misbehave in my classroom I always try to handle the problem myself. I call the student out of the room, every time. I often get asked, “Why can’t you talk to me here?” My answer is always “What I want to discuss with you is nobody else’s business and I am willing to give you my undivided attention so I would appreciate yours for a minute.” Never get into an argument with a student in front of the class. You will always lose. If you have to prove that you are in charge, then you are not in charge. People who are in control of their room don’t need to show it, EVERYBODY knows.
When I write up a student’s behavior I usually read it to the student and leave it on my desk. I tell him or her that if he can change his behavior for the rest of the period, I will tear up the form. However, there will be no other chance. Actions speak louder than words so if they say, “OK” I answer, I know you can behave, just show me that I am right. Ninety percent of the time I am able to tear up the written form. When a dean gets a complaint from me, it is taken very seriously. I don’t send gum chewers to someone else. Handle your own problems and soon you will see that you don’t have any. For example, I do not allow students to put their heads down in my classroom. I never allow them to sleep. Some teachers do allow classroom naps, believe it or not, but this is highly unprofessional. I take the student outside of the room and say, “If something at home is creating an atmosphere where you can’t get enough rest at night, perhaps I can help you. But, you cannot sleep in my room. I am responsible for your education and sleeping is not part of that education, sorry. Let me know if I can help you with any problems that are making you so tired.” Tell the student exactly what they need to hear without dancing around the point.
I put the onus on them to learn. I also let them know that I take the learning seriously and will make them take it seriously as well, that is my job as an educator. I am willing to help them diffuse any anger they have. My saying, “sorry” gives the appearance that I wish they could rest in my room, but it is not a possibility since I take my job, and their education, seriously. Then I thank them.
Of course, serious infractions need to be handled a bit differently. Hopefully, creating these boundaries will stop serious infractions from happening altogether.
Go to the rooms where learning is always taking place. Learn from the Masters. Pick their brains. It’s an incredible compliment to them and most are eager to help you. Borrow, Learn, and Pass It On!