Discipline Survival Guide for the Secondary Teacher – by Julia Thompson

Classroom Management Systems

  • Plan for active learning whenever possible, even when you are discussing classroom rules. Put yourself in the place of the students as you create rules and ask what could go wrong? Thompson gives many ideas on how to say no without being negative. Give students as much input when it comes to making rules. Ask them about the circumstances in other classes where they have been successful. State rules in a positive manner, e.g. show respect for others. Assess students’ understanding of the rules. Enforce rules fairly and avoid threats. The chapter concludes with advice on areas you may need to address and efficient classroom routines.

Partnerships With Families

  • Start with providing information about your course and expectations. Provide more information along the way and make sure it is carefully proofread. Make successful contacts when possible. Alway be respectful even when they are confrontational. Listen carefully and project concern and caring. Offer assistance whenever there is a family emergency. If students see you working well with parents they are more likely to behave better. Return calls promptly and document home contacts. Welcome visits to your class. Keep in mind that they know the child better than you do. If possible, maintain a class web page. This chapter also contains abundant specifics including mistakes to avoid.

A Cooperative Classroom Climate

  • Work hard to get to know each student and help them learn about each other. The book includes sample student and parent surveys. This includes literacy and math skills they may need. If they are lacking in these areas help them. Use positive language and a kind voice. Use honest praise as much as possible. Move your desk to the back of the room to project a student-centered attitude. Build on student interests and opinions to keep the work interesting and the students busy. Get student feedback on activities and teaching methods. Avoid classroom competitions. When student conflicts arise, work to resolve them. If you are always attentive you can prevent some conflict. Model the behavior you want and arm students with what to do when dealing with a conflict. Be available before and after school and attend school events where they will attend.

Order Through Effective Instruction

  • Instruction that keeps students busy with work that engages their interests is probably the most important way to control a class. Any work that has a practical purpose and allows for personal connections is likely to be successful. Let students use modern media and collaborate. Display or publish student work. Focus on positive aspects of student work. Make sure the students know what to do next when they finish something. NO FREE TIME! Make sure your lessons allow students with different abilities to engage. Make sure homework can be done independently in a reasonable amount of time. Use long-term projects where students can choose the content. Thompson also provides lots of ideas for how to make good plans for a substitute.
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