11/9/14

ROADBLOCKS

What is your school's discipline policy? Are you allowed to administer consequences or are your hands tied? At my school, I have a great deal of parental and administrative support even though I have had my fair share of "Apache Blackhawk Helicopter Parents" who want to blame me. Most of the time when I need to contact a parent, s/he apologizes for the child's behavior and it is rare for a student to continue misbehaving after the phone call. Just last week, after I needed to call her twice due to her 7th grade son's stubborn and repeated refusal to follow instructions, a parent came all the way down to the school to "make a point."  Also, when I have needed to ask for help from administration they have always been more than willing to provide "back-up." However, there are many communities in our country that set up some roadblocks for teachers.

The below article is shown in its entirety with permission from the author:

     
Roadblocks to Success in Classroom Discipline 

by John Rosemond, family psychologist and author
October, 2014
John Rosemond has written over 20 parenting books, including  A Family of Value. He also writes syndicated columns for 225 newspapers across the country.

"A first-grade teacher asks what she can do about a girl in her class who is completely undisciplined. After nearly two months of this teacher's best efforts, the child's behavior is no better. She is defiant, aggressive toward other kids, and often gets out of her seat and crawls around on the floor. Several years ago, she taught the girl's older sister who also had numerous discipline issues. The home is chaotic, so the teacher doubts she can expect much if any help from the parents.

The further problem is that the public school in which she teaches forbids the use of "negative" consequences. She can't take any privilege, including recess, away from the child. She is restricted to using a visual "red light, green light" system that simply lets the child know what her behavior level is at any given moment in time. At the end of the day, she sends home notices to the parents of those kids who've had problems. With great regret, I told the teacher that I had no suggestions that I'd put any faith in. 

There are two roadblocks to success in this sort of situation. First, a teacher cannot be expected to get a child's behavior under control without full cooperation from the child's parents. That cooperation has to include unmitigated acknowledgment of the problem as well as a commitment to follow through at home when there are discipline problems at school. Lacking that, a teacher is limited to containment strategies with a problem child. Furthermore, she will start every day at pretty much square one. With parent cooperation, a discipline problem can generally be solved quickly.

Unfortunately, there is widespread reluctance on the part of today's parents to fully acknowledge their kids' classroom behavior problems. Upon hearing of a problem, too many parents toss the hot potato back at the teacher, claiming that her management of or attitude toward the child is the issue, not the child's behavior.

The second roadblock, described in this teacher's communication with me, is public school discipline policy. With rare exception these days, schools tie the hands of teachers behind their backs. As in this teacher's case, they forbid "negative" consequences like taking away recess or having misbehaving children write sentences. They send teachers to seminars on behavior-modification based classroom strategies that "work" only with kids who would be well-behaved without them. The weaknesses inherent to public school discipline policy virtually guarantee that far too many kids will end up being diagnosed as having "disorders" of one sort or another and given potentially risky psychiatric medications.

A 2004 study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found that more than 1 in 4 public school teachers put their children in private schools. At the time, that was more than twice the figure for all parents. One of the top three reasons cited by these teachers was better discipline policies. Neither of the two national teachers' unions would comment on the study. Fancy that.

No one has more investment in classroom discipline than a teacher. Public school teachers are highly likely to opt out of public education for their own kids, in order that they might be disciplined more effectively. It's time the educrats put those two facts together."

Roadblocks to Success in Classroom Discipline, http://rosemond.com/
article posted with permission from the author






1 comment:

Sharon Christman said...

When I was subbing last year in the art room I encountered this same problem.

I finally found that after introducing a lesson I would invite those students to sit with me and make their art. Ofter it seemed to calm them if just for a bit.

They seemed to want attention, someone to show them they cared.

It seems to me that so many children live in this every fast paced life. They often get lost in the life of parents/families who do not have the time they need. So many children seem to just want to feel like they are being noticed.

I found that each week when they came to me they would ask if they could sit with me. Absolutely!

Don't get me wrong, it was still hard to keep them focused but the problem was minimized by them being UNDER my nose.

Please understand that I made it clear that this was not PUNISHMENT but instead privilege to sit with me.

I would not want to neglect the others so often I would have to leave the spot and go check on the others. Come back to my few.




It was what I did to survive and in the end I was able to get these kids to produce art that they and I were happy with.


I think we have to remember that there is never a ONE SIZE FIXES ALL...each teacher needs to try a variety of strategies to find what FITS best for them and their individual students.