While no resource can prepare a teacher for every misbehavior that will occur, there does seem to be some consistency in the types of misbehaviors teachers face today. Likewise, all strategies do not work for all students; however, through trial and error, teachers are finding effective strategies for handling these common misbehaviors.
Don't Care Attitude/Apathy/Lack of Respect
Know your students' backgrounds. Often this information provides insight into the cause of this attitude and could provide insight for effectively working to change this attitude. "Find Hook" Teach in a professional manner. Being "a friend" to students does not earn respect. Maintaining a professional image in appearance and presentation does earn this respect. Once this "friendly" relationship with students is established, it is difficult for a teacher to be the professional in the room. Encourage participation in Student Organizations. Becoming involved in these organizations gives students a clearer understanding of the value of the classes they are part of. Also, this active involvement will help to increase students' self-esteem, which will in turn help eliminate this "don't care" attitude. Phone home. Involving parent(s), when appropriate, can be a turning point in some students' attitudes.
Be prepared for confrontation. Having a plan before a situation occurs will help to deal with conflict as it arises. Separate emotion from misbehavior. Use student strengths.
Students Not Following School Policy (ex. dress code)
Be consistent in enforcing school rules in your classroom. Follow the school policy for inappropriate dress (send them to the office, have them change, have them phone home, etc), count tardies, etc. Be consistent across the board with all students. Be clear and concise so that students understand exactly the expectations and consequences. Hold students accountable for their actions. Apply the policy to real-world situations. Explain how following these rules today will have an impact on their ability to be successful in the future. Work together as a faculty. While this is difficult for a single classroom teacher, an entire faculty consistently working together will more quickly get all students on board for following the school rules.
Establish rules and consequences for not following rules prior to the start of the school year. Redirection. When you feel yourself losing control, redirect the students to maintain their engagement. Assert control from the beginning. Once control is lost, it is difficult to regain. Work in time for talking. Mix things up in your classroom. Use a variety of techniques and activities to keep the students on task. Break Detention. After-school Detention. Phone Home. Positive feedback when students follow the rules.
Unprepared for Class
Establish rules and consequences for not following rules prior to the start of the school year. Break Detention. After-school Detention. Phone Home. Positive feedback when students follow the rules.
Tardy to Class
Follow the school policy consistently. Positive feedback when students follow the rules.
When behaviors reoccur with the same students, there becomes a need for more drastic action. Some suggestions include the following:
Phone Home. Schedule a meeting with the student, parents, and a school administrator. Develop a Discipline Contract for the student.