Tips for Achieving and Maintaining Discipline

"Discipline is not control from the outside; it's order from within." This article will help you establish and maintain the classroom discipline atmosphere you want. New teachers will find this resource particularly valuable. Practical suggestions and guidelines are given such as using positive presence, modeling behavior you desire, low-profile intervention among many others.
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Updated on: February 1, 2007
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Watch Out!

If you're anything like me and a couple million other teachers in the world, you will undoubtedly make a few mistakes regarding an appropriate discipline policy for your classroom. Watch out for these.

  • Teach students to listen. We sometimes make the mistake of repeating the same instructions several times. When we do that, we teach students not to listen. Give a request only twice, and let students know that after two times they will be on their own.

  • Don't be their friend. It's your nature to be caring, considerate, outgoing, and sensitive. After all, you're a teacher! But when you become your students' friend, you lose their respect. Yes, it's important that you be a role model and someone they can look up to and trust. It's important that you care about them. But don't ever try to be their friend.

  • Keep your administrator informed. As you craft your classroom discipline policy, be sure you run it by your principal first. Get her or him involved, and let that individual know what your rules are, how you plan to enforce them, and how your classroom rules are in line with any rules and regulations of the school.

  • Keep parents informed, too. Good classroom discipline does not exist in isolation from the discipline practiced at home or in the local community. Inform parents of your expectations for students though newsletters, phone calls, parent-teacher conferences, or other means of communication. When parents know what you expect, they will be more supportive of your actions.

  • Watch out for an excess of negative comments. Frame your comments, suggestions, and behavior modification in positive terms, such as, "Let's walk silently down the right side of the hallway," or "I really like when you come into the room ready to work."

  • Teach your students proper discipline. During the first week of school, establish a set of expectations, the specific details of those expectations, and the consequences if those expectations are not followed. Nothing is more important than a well-crafted and well-articulated discipline policy. If it's true that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," the time you take at the start of the school year will pay enormous dividends throughout the rest of the school year.

Excerpted from

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Success as a Teacher
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Success as a Teacher
Anthony D. Fredericks, Ed.D.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Success as a Teacher © 2005 by Anthony D. Fredericks. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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