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How do you handle classroom discipline?

How do you handle classroom discipline?

For obvious reasons everyone will have a different answer; it will depend on your teaching style, grade interviewing for, and past experiences. The interviewer will be looking to see if you have a plan, you know how to implement it, and if you think that discipline is an important part of the position. What I have found from coaching clients is they fail to provide a clear action plan that can be backed up with examples. Also it is important to find out what is the philosophy of the school or district, this will give you some additional information. A few things to bring up when answering this question is the following:

It is important to develop ground rules the first week of class, this allows the students to understand what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. These rules are discussed and agreed upon with the students, this makes the students accountability and responsible. You may want to touch on your philosophy of classroom discipline. This of course would depend on your style; you will have to be honest with yourself. But you may believe that you reduce negative behavior by offering the students a intellectually stimulating, organized, and respectful environment.

You will want to get an example of your plan; use a real situation to show your expertise in this very important area. Whether you use the red light/green light, time-outs, or removing the student from the classroom, it is important that you can back up why it is effective and use examples. You will want to explain why you feel the discipline action is effective and why you enjoy using it.

It is also important to indicate there are always two sides to every story, so if the action involves discipline of two students, you must listen to both sides. Indicate that you try to get the students to resolve their own disagreements, which may involve compromise. And end the discussion by asking them, “How will you handle the situation next time?”

Again, you must be honest when answering this question or any other question during the interview, but by organizing your thoughts and stories will make your response concise, truthful, and show your skills to the district.

Let’s imagine an interview for a grade one teaching position wherein the interviewer asks: “Describe your classroom’s physical appearance.” Having prepared ahead of time, you understand the interviewer[s] attempt to determine:

1. Your teaching style

2. Your ability to effectively manage the class

3. The level and quality of student interaction

4. Your teaching philosophy,

Within this context, you might respond: “Upon entering my classroom you will find a lively and colorful room wholly centered upon children and active learning. Sight words, the alphabet, numbers, and inspirational quotes cover the walls while large bulletin boards proudly display student’s work. A large area contains a carpeted reading or group corner specifically for storytelling, show-and-tell, weather discussions and calendar and day-of-the-week conversations. This classroom includes an abundance of age appropriate reading materials as well as student mailboxes wherein children place personal journals, home reading books and workbooks in the morning and then collect newsletters or other parent communication at the end of the day.”

NOTE: Presenting floor plans successfully used in the past demonstrates strong organization and preparation skills. Indicate various potential seating plans used throughout the year and offer pictures of your old classrooms as a way means to provide the principal and interviewing board a first-hand view of your potential classroom…As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Remember, each person’s answer will vary depending upon teaching style and philosophy. The district will look to see if your style is compatible with their needs; thus, thoroughly researching each specific district provides the key to successfully meet these needs.

Continue to Question 3: Why do you want to work for our school district?

Return to How to Handle the 6 Toughest Interview Questions


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