Outside of the Classroom Management
In my opinion, one of the most unfortunate situations is when a teacher feels as though he does not have any support when dealing with behavioral issues. During my credentialing program, I was surprised at how many educators said that when they first began teaching, they didn't want to send too many students to the administration for fear of being seen as incapable. Some teachers also pointed out that irate parents often call schools to complain if they feel that their child is being treated unfairly. Here are three ways for teachers to avoid such problems:
1. Communicate with your administrators: Although this may sound obvious, it's something that many teachers fail to do. When there happens to be a big behavior problem in your class, the best thing you can do is to let your administrator know exactly what is going on. The reason why this is so important is because parent phone calls often go to counselors, who might get caught off guard if they are not aware of a student's behavioral record. When it comes to dealing with tough students and tough parents, your administration is your best friend. However, if you're not giving them what they need to do their jobs, then don't be surprised if they don't like it when you send students to the office again and again.
2. Keep an accurate log of classroom behavior: This is especially important in a class with multiple behavior problems. Keeping a behavior log allows you to come prepared to a parent conference so that you can give a detailed account of every incident. Also, in the event that there is a parent who insists that his child is being treated unfairly, you have evidence to support your actions. Behavior logs also have other benefits, such as allowing you to comprehensively examine behavior trends.
3. Use a behavior reflection form: Behavior reflection forms are great because they are always successful at something. If a student is a continual behavior problem and he is given a behavior reflection form to complete, there are really only a few possible outcomes. The student can fill out the form sincerely, in which case he has time to reflect on his actions and write an accurate account of what he did. If the student chooses to ignore the form or to make a mockery of it, then it becomes evidence for a warranted consequence.
Please do not misunderstand me. I want the absolute best for students and if you're taking the time to read this post, then you probably do to. As responsible teachers and educators, by no means should we be "out to get" our kids. However, the unfortunate truth is that sometimes, especially for new teachers, behavior problems are allowed to ruin whole classes because they go unchecked. We always want to give our kids every educational advantage possible and sometimes that means protecting them from themselves!
Rosemead High School
El Monte Union High School District