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What To Do When Students Flagrantly Disregard The Rules

What To Do When Students Flagrantly Disregard The Rules


The following comment was left yesterday and I thought it was worthy of its own article as I have seen numerous things of this type happen over the years:

This is my first year as a professional teacher; I have three (90-minute block scheduled) enthusiastic groups of students who have begun to test their boundaries. I love the students, and I want to keep them secure and in control. Perhaps someone might have some advice on a discipline problem I encountered yesterday:

Yesterday, almost half of my last class left two minutes before the bell rang. The chaotic clean-up process, which I will adjust, contributed to their opportunism, but I was shocked, angered, and embarrassed that this happened.

I took down the names of the students who remained, and marked the rest as tardy, but this seems insufficient, and not in keeping with the school’s attendance policy. I would appreciate any advice on addressing this problem. Thanks very much!

When it all boils down, this is exactly the same as when a group of students starts a food fight in the cafeteria or when a group starts yelling or shoving or any other sort of “mob mentality” problems. For that matter, it’s the same as one student consistently skipping class or ignoring the school’s tardy policy or refusing to turn in work on time or whatever.

Essentially the question here is how to address students who don’t seem to feel like the rules apply directly to them. Here’s how I would handle it:

1. Check with your principal or other school administration to see what their recommendation is. It’s always much easier to follow their advice than having to explain to parents why you didn’t consult administration before punishing their baby. This also shows the principal that you are interested in doing the right thing and being a team player, while still trying to get a better handle on your classroom management.

2. Address the problem specifically with the class. Be sure they know exactly what the consequences will be the next time it happens. Maybe the consequences need to be more severe for repeat offenders.

3. Expect it (or something like it) to happen again and be ready to not lose control. The worst thing you can do is yell and lash our in anger in front of the kids. Maintain control and a calm demeanor at all times and you will regain control. Obviously we don’t know what age group this is, so I’m just assuming it’s secondary of some sort. But what other suggestions would you offer to this teacher?

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