Teachers often look for part time jobs during their summer vacations to earn some extra money. This can be a great idea. They often have lots of free time, and valuable talents to share. The part time summer job becomes a bad idea, however, when it involves doing anything related to the regular teaching job. This leads my discipline tip for the week:
Do as few teaching related activities as possible during the summer.
The main reason that teachers should stay away from teaching over the summer is that they should try to stay as fresh as possible for the upcoming school year. Yes, teaching summer school or tutoring may be the best way to make the most money for experienced teachers. If money was our main motivator, however, we would not be teachers in the first place. Our performance during the school year is much more important than the extra money that we might earn during the summer. There are plenty of other possible part time jobs that teachers can do that are not teaching related.
I once tutored heavily during one of my summer vacations, and it felt like I was already in the middle of the school year when the next one started. This led to a long year. Teachers’ main priority should be to be at their best during the main school year, not maximizing their part time summer income.
Coming soon: MythBusting common misconceptions about effective discipline
The best classes usually exist when the students all get along. Sometimes, though, personalities clash and arguments can occur. If not handled properly, these arguments can destroy a positive class atmosphere. My discipline tip for this week is this:
Put an end to potential arguments as quickly as possible.
Sometimes students having an argument may not be breaking a specific rule of the class. This is why teachers would be wise to have a catch all rule that says something like “no uncivilized behavior allowed.” When this rule is in place, consequences can reasonably be given for unexpected misbehaviors.
If an argument goes too far, the best plan is to remove the students involved from the room quickly. Even if this means just taking them into the hallway for a private discussion, this can be an effective way to diffuse the situation. The best solution, of course, is to try to end the disagreement before it gets to that point.
Last week I talked about the difference between black-and-white rules and non black-and-white ones. The difference in these kinds of rules is that the clearer ones are much easier to measure. My discipline tip for this week is this:
Make sure you handle black-and-white rules differently from non black-and-white ones.
The key difference in the way that the two kinds of rules are handled is that it is more reasonable to have an immediate consequence for the black-and-white kinds of misbehaviors.
For the rules that are not so clear, it is more fair to give an informal warning before giving a consequence. The best example of this is having a rule against excessive talking. Too much talking is not easily measured. As a result, an informal warning should be given before the rule is counted as being broken. This can method can help clear up teachers’ fears of inconsistency when enforcing rules.
Coming soon: Mythbusting common misconceptions about effective discipline
One of the most common issues when it comes to rules is the possibility of them being black-and-white. Is it reasonable to even hold people to strict rules, or is that something too ambitious to even try? My answer to this issue is to separate rules into two simple categories—black-and-white and non black-and-white. When these categories are used, the reactions and consequences to potential misbehaviors are much easier to deal with in a reasonable way.
The ultimate decision making when handling rules and consequences is still up to the person in charge, of course. Being aware of the nature of the rules can be very helpful when trying to figure out a way to establish reasonable discipline. And, of course, being reasonable is one of the main keys to having a successful discipline plan. Next week I will talk about the differences in handling these two different types of rules.
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