The good news is that sometimes we are the problem. Not our students. Us. If we stop to think about the things that go wrong in our classes, lots of times a problem could have been avoided or at least minimized. If we are the ones causing the problems, then we can be the ones to solve the problems. It is much easier for us to control our own behaviors rather than the behaviors of our most unruly students.
To help you with this, here is a little list that you can copy and print out to help you reflect on what you may be doing to cause discipline issues in your classroom and, more importantly, what you can do to solve those issues.
You are unclear in the limits you set for your students, resulting in a constant testing of the boundaries and of your patience.
You are too vague in giving directions to your students.
You are inconsistent in enforcing consequences. This will lead students to a steady testing of the limits of good and bad behaviors.
You go to school each day without the belief you must have in order to help your students succeed: that students can learn and achieve the things you want for them.
You overreact to a discipline problem by becoming angry and upset.
You refuse to listen to your students when they are trying to express their feelings about a problem.
You present yourself in too tentative a fashion—too easily side-tracked, too tentative, too permissive.
You give too many negative directions. This sets an unpleasant tone for your students.
You try to solve discipline problems without trying to determine the underlying causes.
You neglect to command attention. Teachers who talk even though students aren’t listening are not productive.
You have lessons that are poorly paced. Students either have too much work to do and give up or they don’t have enough work. You also make this mistake when you have lectures that are so long that you can’t keep your students’ attention throughout.
You make mistakes in assigning punishment by doing so without proof or by blaming the wrong student.