Working with children is a natural part of my life. I began my education career feeling that I could be the mother to children that may not have a strong maternal influence at home. I realized after having my own children that every child has a mother and I would do better to be a mentor. My classroom is one of mutual respect but obvious authority. The children feel comfortable without fear while knowing where lines are drawn and what is expected. My goal is to bring my students further than they ever thought they could go: academically, spiritually, and socially.
I use several techniques to meet my goal:
Academically- I focus on Multiple Intelligences and vary instruction for each child.
Spiritually- I express that we each have a purpose in who we are and that we should respect the way we were created as well as our Creator.
Socially- We must get along with one another and be able to deal with difficult situations. Self control is an important factor both spiritually and socially.
I believe that a well managed class rarely needs to administer discipline. The fact is though, that children will misbehave so having a discipline plan in place prior to teaching will help organize the flow of the classroom. It will help to set the tone for the rest of the school year. If I am organized and communicate my expectations of the students at the beginning of the school year, then the students will respect the authority of the teacher, and behavioral problems will be minimal. However, in order for me to communicate exceptions of how the classroom will be run, the teacher must have a plan of action already in place. With an organized plan in place, teachers can spend less time dealing with disruptions and more time teaching and doing enrichment activities.
Classroom rules are established on the first day with the students input. I give guidance but they typically come up with better rules than I would. I use techniques such as proximity control to get the attention of the student while nonverbally putting a stop to the misbehavior of the student without taking time out of the lesson or instruction. Proximity control is one of my top practices because it is a nonverbal cue that can be used as I am moving around the classroom during a lesson and this will allow me to move on with my lessons instead of stopping the flow of the lesson in order to correct a behavior. While students are displaying appropriate behavior a great way to reinforce that behavior is to let the student know you can see them behaving appropriately and you appreciate it. Marlene and Lee Canter use this practice in their theory of assertive discipline. I find this practice very useful because I believe students respond in a positive manner when they are receiving positive feedback. This technique can be used when I am teaching a student a desired behavior and then I see that student practicing the behavior that has been taught. By using positive reinforcement I am helping the student form positive habits. Also, if I am trying to use peer pressure to help a student change a behavior I may respond to another student’s positive behavior in hopes that the student who needs to change their behavior will notice the positive attention the student with the appropriate behavior is receiving.
Teachers have many roles, and one of those roles includes instructing students on how to behave in social situations. In assertive discipline Marlene and Lee Canter believe that teachers need to teach students desired behaviors. A good way to do this would be to model for the students how you would like them to behave. This practice fits in well with instructing students on routines and procedures at the beginning of the school year. Once the students have learned the routines and procedures of my classroom I will expect them to be able to practice the behaviors required by those procedures.
Consequences that are used must fit the age group that I am working with. These would vary from Kindergarten to eighth grade students.