Thursday, June 6, 2013

OLD SCHOOL...the Good Ol Days!

Sometimes this has to be my teacher face...and today was one of those days!

After 9 months of implementing the new "lack of discipline" discipline policy at school, we had a group of students whose behavior did not improve (no surprise there) and therefore were not able to go on our class field trip. Normally, these students would be placed in other classrooms to do their work for the day. This time,though, there was a rather large number of students staying back, and it would not have been fair to disrupt other classrooms, so I volunteered to stay back.  I guess my reputation throughout the year preceded me because five of the students slated to stay with me didn't even come to school. Words like "rules" and "work", I am sure, scared them off.

For those that did show up, it was like the "good old days".  Once the day began, I was in charge.  I had spoken to the other adults the students would come into contact with as well and all were on board with me.  Those students who acted out at all in the morning were held back from their "prep" class. (I don't teach that class, so they really wanted to go.) During that time though, those students who did not earn it ended up staying with me doing additional work.  Those who went to their "prep" class but couldn't control themselves during it could not have a recess break (I would have taken recess away all together, but believe me by noon we all needed a break).  But, some didn't earn it, so I gave up half of my lunch period and those that didn't earn a break sat in silence.  By lunchtime, everyone was finally on board.  Most of the afternoon went just fine until I turned my attention to the back of my classroom for a moment leaving a student in the front a nano-second of time to shoot a spitball at another student.  I thought I knew who did it, but since I didn't actually see it happen I couldn't say with 100% certainty. It's not like  I had the "best behaved students" in front of me.  I gave the students an opportunity to confess...yes, to take ownership of what they had done.  I did not say it worked, but I did give them the opportunity.  I even gave them each a sheet of paper and gave them a chance to tell me "on paper" if they had done it or not.  I did this giving them an ultimatum. Tell me, or I will call the security guard upstairs and he'll deal with it.This was truly a rare ultimatum because I never resort to calling security, but since I had the cream of the crop in front of me, I had to play hard ball.  They decided to "try me" one more time and as I anticipated "no one" did it.  So, I buzzed the office and the security guard showed up quickly.  After he gave a lecture using a forceful tone, the guilty party actually owned up to what he'd done.  His presence was then required in the office by the administration for the rest of the afternoon and the remaining kids behaved until the end of the day. 

Not one "reflection paper", "peace circle", or "empty apology" was given today. Instead, the students learned some things from "the good ol' days" like actions have consequences and the choices you make really do matter! 


  1. Sounds like the good ol' days might just work a bit. Seems as though students react to immediate consequences for their actions. Too bad the board members didn't have to join them. Maybe the dose of reality would have been good for them. Or maybe at the end of the day, the board could have written "reflection" papers about what they might have learned today.

    Paul R. Hewlett