Punishing misbehavior is one of the hardest aspects of teaching. For this reason, nine out of ten of the rules of success help to prevent misbehavior. Before the school year starts, have procedures for your consequences in place. Make sure you discuss the following consequences with your principal to make sure that they are in compliance with state laws, district and school procedures.
ConsequencesIt is important to have consequences when students break your classroom rules. Three very commonly used consequences are referring a student to the office, calling the parents, or making an empty threat. When a teacher tells a student of a consequence but does not follow through, it affects the teacher's credibility. The empty threat is meaningless. Calling home and using the administration are effective but the teacher should try to handle the problem on their own. Please remember that high school or middle school students can become discipline problems because of a lack of procedures in your class.
- Have students write a change of behavior plan stating three things: what they did wrong, why they did it and what they are going to do differently so that they will not repeat it. The behavior plan must be acceptable to you, the teacher, or else the student will be referred to the office. Have the student sign and date this behavior plan. This can be useful since the student is writing the documentation and they will know what they need to do differently.
- Call home and explain the misbehavior and what changes you would like to see with their behavior. Have documentation of their behavior so that you can provide the parent/guardian with accurate details. Please be polite and always approach parents from the point of view that you are working together with them. Both of you have the same goals: to get their child to succeed in class.
- A consequence that works well with many students is holding them after class, because it is most effective when a consequence is administered as soon as possible. However, this may be a problem at your school if students have a short passing period after your class.
- After school detention can be effective but many students have a bus to catch or may not show up.
- Some schools have set up lunch detail for students who misbehave during class.
- Referring the student to the office may remove the student from the class for that period, but usually does not fix the problem.
- Parent /teacher conferences are also a valuable asset. Please be polite and always approach parents from the point of view that you are working together with them. Be prepared for the meeting with documentation, the student's grades on assignments, and even examples of student work. Your goal of the meeting is to get the student to correct their behavior. The parent's goal is to make sure their kid is going to succeed in your class and is being shown respect. Having good documentation really helps parents to understand that all you want is a change in behavior. Showing parents the change in behavior plans discussed above is a valuable tool.
Rewarding StudentsTo reduce misbehavior, reward good behavior. Rewards should be utilized several times a week. A reward should be something immediately gratifying to the student. You can use this technique to reward a couple of students or reward the entire class.
Catching Cheaters & MisbehaviorA good teacher usually won't be sitting at their desk during class. If you are not helping students, you can help make sure that the students are on task. To catch students who cheat or break your rules can be easy if you follow several simple rules:
- All work done outside of class has a higher risk of being copied. Try to keep all important and valuable learning experiences in class where you can monitor students. Not only do parents help too much with student work, but students may copy off of each other, copy off the internet, and so on.
- Students may try to cheat in class on assignments. If you don't want students to work in a group, you need to be in front of the room watching students' heads and eyes.
- To prevent cheating on tests, ask students to roll up their sleeves to their elbows. This will help prevent students from writing answers on their arms or keeping a cheat sheet in their sleeves. Ask students to move their chair in so that their stomach is touching the desk. This will prevent students from looking at their lap where they may have a cheat sheet. It will also help to obscure their view if they have a cheat sheet on the ground or on a backpack. Have two or more versions of the test so that students may not look for answers from their neighbors. Make sure to check the tables for writing when handing out the test. Never allow cell phones because of text messaging or taking pictures of your tests. Have student remove their hoods and turn the bill of their hat backwards. This will allow you to see the students' eyes the entire time they are taking the test.
- To catch students who are using a cell phone in class, watch for students looking at their lap. There is usually no reason why a student needs to be looking at their lap. Just walk over to that student and ask for their phone, even if they put it back into their pocket.
- Many students will try to listen to their iPods during class. To prevent this, do not allow students to wear hoods. You can now see if the students have wires hanging from their ears. Students nowadays may have sun glasses with an mp3 player built in.
- If you do not allow chewing of gum, spend 20 seconds during class and scan the room watching students' mouths. If you see a chewing motion, ask the student to spit it out. This can also help if you don't allow any food or drink in class.
* Disclaimer: Before implementing any ideas from this website, please first consult your principal to make sure they are in compliance with state laws, district and school procedures.