“Teachers and students deserve school environments that are safe, supportive, and conducive to teaching and learning. Creating a supportive school climate—and decreasing suspensions and expulsions—requires close attention to the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of all students.”
—U.S. Department of Education Website
Classroom discipline has steadily been coming to the forefront of public education as being critical to teaching curriculum. As an educational consultant who trains teachers in a specific classroom management system, I firmly believe it only makes sense to teach kids expectations for classroom behavior in order to gain their attention to teach curriculum.
There have been many changes in society in the past 50 years. Family structure, technology, political decision-making and the media’s reporting on trends and news in popular culture have brought about major changes.
With the advent of the internet and the various media that accompany it, students have many more distractions than even ten years ago. Add to this the fact that students aren’t as compliant as they had been in past when behaviors that were considered “bad” might have been “chewing gum in class” or a student “whispering too much to her neighbor”.
Teen pregnancy, suicide and students bringing guns into the classroom are just some of the behaviors that teachers have to deal with in todays education environment. This is why it’s critical to teach discipline in the classroom and set expectations for student behavior before tackling course content.
I’ve always loved the quote by the brilliant educator Madeline Hunter: “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Believe it or not, “teaching to” expectations for appropriate behavior in the classroom is welcomed by a lot of students. The teacher may be the only person in their life who is predictable and stable. The teacher may be the only person who sets boundaries and cares enough to enforce those boundaries. Believe it or not, many kids respond positively to this.
Classroom management and the teacher’s expectations should be the first thing taught at the beginning of the school year. It can cut weeks off of time spent disciplining the same student(s) and cut down on office referrals. Disciplining a student over and over in a teacher’s class can drag down the entire class and make for a stressful learning environment for the teacher and the student.
The excuse that “everything begins at home” may be true but teachers can no longer use poor parenting as an excuse for not teaching a student. Teachers need to acknowledge that some kids simply don’t know how to behave—because they weren’t taught at home to behave. It then becomes their imperative to teach them appropriate behavior as much as subject content.
Not only is teaching expectations for behavior in your class good for your students, it’s good for you, the teacher! Setting up rules and boundaries for students will make your job easier, you’ll spend less time doing the “back and forth dance” with students.
Teachers are doing an incredible job today. You are not only teaching but playing nurse, counselor, drug prevention specialist, fundraiser, playground, hall and restroom monitor; teach not just content but the ability to reason, instill patriotism, and increase curiosity and a love of life-long learning. It makes sense to get student behavior under control at the outset of a school years so that you can spend more time doing what you spent at least four years at college to do—teaching!
P.S. If you want to learn a “system” for reducing low-level behaviors in the classroom and decrease office referrals up to 70% or more, go to my website and see how my classroom management training might help your school. CLICK HERE: http://timpic.com/programs/.