Maintaining Professionalism

Published: 10/19/2012 8:50 AM

​Maintenance of a healthy student and teacher relationship is vital to the proper management of any classroom environment.  The teacher has the responsibility of remaining in control of the classroom at all times.  This control is not limited to student behavior but also includes the teacher's own personal behavior.  The following tips that are listed have been developed to help teachers handle themselves in a professional manner.


Do not wait until the discipline problem becomes personally offensive to you as a teacher. In short, don't wait until you are mad to deal with the problem. This is a common pitfall and especially dangerous to those of you who are naturally easy to get along with. Don't forget that maintaining order in your classroom is one of your responsibilities just like planning and presenting lessons; it is not a personal issue between you and the student. This is a problem that all new teachers face to varying degrees largely due to the fact that we live in a society that values nonconfrontational traits in our citizens. I do not feel that this is a flaw in our society, but it will not work when dealing with youngsters.
Remove the student from their source of attention. Many confrontations can be handled quickly and effectively if they are simply discussed one-on-one between the teacher and the student. The student may not feel the same pressure to persist if they are no longer in view of their peers. However, this does not mean that it is acceptable to challenge the student to a duel of wits once you have left the classroom. It is still very important to remain calm and explain to the student how their behavior was unacceptable as well as the consequences of such behavior.
Establish clear expectations concerning student behavior and definite consequences associated with deviations from those behaviors. I believe wholeheartedly in the idea that students are looking for the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Save yourself and them the trouble by establishing those boundaries early. Many discipline problems could be minimized with clear expectations and consistent consequences. I went as far as to have students and parents sign classroom conduct agreements at the beginning of each year. Those documents often diffused arguments concerning unfair treatment and unclear expectations.
Stay Calm!!! Yelling and screaming until you are blue in the face and the veins are jumping out of your neck will only fuel the problem and leave you feeling defeated at the end of the day. Refuse to be lured into a shouting match. If a student is not rational enough to talk to, put them in a place where they can calm down a little before you continue your talk.
Forgive quickly. I have been shamed by dreading the sight of a student returning to class after suspension only to have them greet me in a very courteous and sometimes apologetic manner. Often the student may be looking for a fresh start, I encourage you to give it to them it could be the encouragement they need to make a substantial change in their behavior.
The following websites provide additional information concerning classroom management and maintaining professionalism in the classroom:
Laura Arnold
Office of Career and Technical Education
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-4286
Fax (502) 564-4800