This particular boy has a good relationship with me and has never been a problem in my room, although is occasionally trouble for other teachers. The next day when I saw him, I pulled him in the hall, read him the sub’s note, and promptly assigned him a week of lunch detentions.
Here’s my philosophy on classroom management:
I’m pretty loose with what students can and cannot do in class. I don’t have lists of rules posted around the room, and I certainly know the importance of choosing my battles. But my kids know that there is a very clear line drawn in the sand. They quickly learn to stay behind that line. If it is crossed, there is consistent and immediate consequence.
Yesterday I called in to work to help my wife take care of our brood of sick children. It was an unplanned absence but I emailed lesson plans and work in for the sub so I was not anticipating problems. This morning, I arrived to find a familiar note on my desk. It was a different sub, but the same boy, and same defiant, disruptive behavior.
When I pulled him in the hall, he said he knew why he was in trouble and he was aware of the consequence for his actions. He’ll again be enjoying my company as lunch partner for the next week.
But this got me thinking. I always assume that clear and consistent consequence is the way to deal with behavior problems. But if that’s the case, then why did he act up again when he saw a substitute sitting in my chair? Is punitive consequence ineffective, or is he just a little too impulsive and thick-skulled for it to work after only one instance?
What is your philosophy for effective classroom management?
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