Wednesday, August 31, 2005

D word

I have so many friends that are teachers on some level or another. I know Kindergarten teachers, College Presidents, AP math teachers, Principals, Cafeteria Coordinators, School Nurses, and a P.E. Teacher lives in the house here in Whites Creek Gorge. All of them are dealing with the start of school and wondering how society will survive, given the problems the kids are bringing to class.

We get the National Education Association magazine here at the house, and I read it wwith the same attention I give to Business Week, Sierra, or Science News. NEA Today never fails to make me think. Discipline is a main topic this month.

One thing I've noticed is that Conservatives seem to think discipline is about crushing human spirit and free thinking. Remember "Zero Tolerance"? Conservatives rammed that particularly idiotic concept through lots of School Boards, thereby forever demonstrating to the world how morbidly incapable the right wing is of making the connection between concept and result.

In East Tennessee, the School Board expelled an elementary school child for showing a table knife to her teacher and asking if it was OK for her to take it to the cafeteria. The school lunch had chicken so tough that she couldn't eat it. All she wanted was food and she was asking permission. They expelled her.


There are two main concepts of discipline, IMHO, and there should be three. The first is to Teach the correct behavior, considered Liberal in most quarters. The other is Punish them when they don't do what you want, Conservative...obviously.

Giving school kids a School agenda and then getting ready to SmackDown any offenders is the way of the FundXtians. It is also cowardly, downright mean in some cases, and lazy.I am amazed a the folks that still call for corporal punishment. Any adult that hits a kid is a creep.

Hit my kid and you should expect to experience me, in your face, in a seriously unhappy mood.

I decided to go the hard way on discipline with my kids. I call it, "Teach, correct, Expect."

Teach...Telling a kid something is not teaching. Teaching involves understanding, on the part of the teacher and the student. If you can't rationally explain why a behavior is positive, maybe it doesn't have value in the first place. This is the part where you draw the line in the sand dividing behavior into "All giggles on this side" and "Deal with me" on the other.

Correct...This is the hard one. Takes effort and energy...sometimes when you just don't have much. This is the part where you make sure your kid understand that this line in the dirt is not very fuzzy.

Expect...Expect graduated consequences, up to and including the Nuclear Option...No Cell phone. Also, and this is important, Expect rewards for good behavior.

A smile will often work just fine.

See how simple it is?



Here are the 25 tips for classroom discipline. My favorite is "Don't argue with them!"

nea today

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