I have recently been doing a series about stupid school mistakes that others have made, so I think it is only fair that I admit some stupid mistakes that I have made myself. There are some people who are naturals at discipline. To them, I say "great for you." They are not the ones that I am talking to.
Most of us have to learn how to be good with discipline, whether that learning comes from our own mistakes or learning from others. Many of the ideas that I talk about in my book and on this website were learned from trying new things and from learning from mistakes. Here are a few things I have done that were not a good idea:
*Telling an assistant principal that I quit two months into my teaching career. Years of training and many classes taken to be certified and I was ready to give up that quickly. It can easily take a year or two before you really find out if teaching is for you. Luckily, the administrator didn't accept my resignation and I eventually found my way. Stupid.
*Insulting a guidance counselor. Early in my career I told a guidance counselor that something she did was the dumbest thing I have ever seen. I quickly got a reputation for being a complainer. Protect your reputation. Stupid.
*Using profanity in class. During my first full year teaching (a class of "at-risk" type students) I was sick one day and told a girl to "have a damn seat." She soon tried to get me fired for cussing her out in class, thankfully without success. Stupid.
*Listening to "tradtional" but wrong advice about discipline. You name it, I tried it. A short list of examples includes trying to be like my former teachers, giving writing assignments as punishments, grading behavior, using rewards systems, counting on parents to help behavior, and many more. Take it from me, a lot of the tradtional advice will mess you up. Stupid.
*Using anger as the main method of classroom management. I too was guilty of making this big mistake. See my book and this website for more details about my thoughts on this! Stupid.
I will end this list at five, although there are many more things that I could mention. Even the smartest people make stupid mistakes occassionally, so I don't feel bad. Just keep learning when you mess up!
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