My overall philosophy of discipline is that it should be fair, consistent, and reflect what would happen at a full-time job. I believe that schools are to teach students how to be good employees. With that in mind, I believe that discipline should reflect what their consequences would be like when they have a full-time job. For example, if they were rude to their boss, they would get written up. The equivalent of being written up at your job would be to get detention at school. Furthermore, if the students were to do something that would get them fired from their job, they would earn a day or two in ISS (In-School Suspension) or if it were severe enough OSS (Out-School Suspension). I want my students to be aware of what is acceptable when they are out in the world of employment. They should leave my classroom as employable and respectful human beings.
Current Discipline Policy
The rules in my classroom are to not speak while I am speaking, no cell phones or headphones out while I am teaching, be on time to class, and to pick up trash before you leave the classroom. I do one verbal warning with a detention on the second verbal warning. I email parents when I give detentions with details of what the student did to deserve the detention. I don’t give very many detentions because the verbal warnings usually do the trick. I do not believe that a student should get detention on the first offense (unless they cuss at me or bully other students) because with the special education students I work with, they may just not be aware that what they are doing is disrespectful or rude. I always let my students know that what they are doing would not be appropriate if they were at a job, therefore it is not appropriate at school and I let them know that if they keep the behavior up, they will get a detention. If they continue to be disrespectful, I follow through with the detention. If a student is tardy to my class (even by ten seconds), they get detention because if they were to be late for their job, they would get written up for it.
Development of Policy
As I mentioned earlier, I developed my discipline policy by thinking of the common discipline policy of full-time employers. I attempted to reflect the policy of full-time employers into the classroom so that my students are employable when they leave my class. The tardy policy is enforced by the school, but some teachers don’t follow it. I am not one of those teachers. In my first year teaching, I allowed my students to be a few seconds late, but I noticed that they were taking advantage of my kindness so I began to be very strict and now I don’t tolerate being tardy at all. I talk about how a job or a boss wouldn’t allow certain behaviors at the job site so I won’t allow the behaviors in the classroom.
Sending Students to Administration
I don’t send students to administration very often. This is my second year teaching and I’ve only had to call the administration three times. The first time was because a student was refusing to sign a detention slip, the second time was because a student refused to follow directions or to listen to me, and the third time a student cussed at me. I try not to rely on the principals to take care of my disciplinary needs because I want the students to view me as the main disciplinary. If I send the students to the office over every little thing, two things will happen–the principals will begin to think I have poor classroom management skills and the students will begin to see that I don’t have authority over my classroom. Another reason I don’t like to send students to the office so much is that it takes away from their learning. The more they are out of the classroom, the less time they spend learning something new. The only time students should be sent to the principal is if they are bullying other students, cuss at me/other students, or are acting out so outrageously that it is disrupting instruction time. If I’m not able to handle within a minute, then I send them out to the hallway and call a principal to the classroom.
The school I work at doesn’t allow corporal punishment. I agree that corporal punishment should not be allowed at school. As I previously mentioned, I believe that schools should reflect how employment works and even at jobs, people are not paddled. They are simply fired or suspended without pay. Not to mention corporal punishment is physically hurting someone. Students should not be taught that paddling someone is the way to get someone to behave the way you want them to. They should be taught that there are non-physical ways to achieve the desired behavior.
All in all, my philosophy of discipline was developed when I was asked to decide what the purpose of the school was. Students are taught so many things at school, but the main thing that students are taught is how to become valuable members of society. With that in the back of my mind, I decided that discipline should also reflect the kind of consequences they would face at a job so that they are prepared for their future after school. I teach special education students so I believe the best way to help them is to teach them how to be good employees so they can provide for themselves and their future families. I don’t want my students to rely on a government check to stay fed and housed. I want them to be good employees and have the ability to get and maintain a job.