Behavior Management and Discipline Plan
Classroom Organization

Physical classroom environment:
  • I will ensure that all my classes have relatively similar instruction plans so that I do not have to waste class time moving the desks with students. That being said, on a day-to-day basis, my desk organization will reflect the learning activity of choice. If it is discussion based, the desks will face each other; if there is group work, there will be pods; and if there is a test or direct instruction, the desks will be in rows. I have observed two classrooms’ decorations while on site at Phoebus. I will probably employ the decorations that are a reflection of my personality at first so that students implicitly get to know who I am, and then I will slowly replace those decorations with elements of their personalities.
    Classroom Arrangement.jpg
    This is my current default classroom arrangement.
  • While every special need will require a special plan (by its very wording), I can take an example from class at Phoebus. A student with ADHD and depression has a 504 plan that gives her a few legal adaptations. She is permanently allowed to see the nurse and also be excused from class (either to stay home or to see a guidance councilor). This will likely have little effect on my everyday classroom management, but I need to be very aware of the particulars of their plans.
  • As I described briefly above, the main theme of my decorations is caring. I do not believe that students notice the vast majority of things teachers put on the walls (random maps, bizarre pictures, infographics). However, they would notice if I talked with them about some music group and then got a poster and put in on my wall. This simple act reflects a core part of my philosophy that I articulated in my discussion questions: caring and respect. These two concepts will go much further than yelling and/or threats to ensure students have a safe environment for learning.

Routines and Procedures
Establishing and implementing routines:
  • I believe (as reflected in Sprick) that running routines should be established ideally on the first day of school. Short of any districtwide mandates for first day of school activities, I will take the time to establish my personal routines with students so that they are all comfortable with them throughout the year. Lesson-running routines will be established at the beginning of the lesson. Often in social studies, norms can change radically based on the activity we are pursuing. For example, during a discussion based lesson, I will establish a new routine for student to follow so that they are able to fully participate. While the running routines are designed to allow for student learning throughout the year, lesson-running routines maximize individual lesson plans by stripping away superfluous rules.
  • Social studies classes are often quite a variable business, so I may have to set the routine by lesson at times. For example, if I have had students do a simple map exercise for homework, I could probably simply check their homework by walking around the room while completing attendance. However, if I assigned an essay or report, then I will need students to know where to drop this. On the first day of school I will introduce them to a homework box. They should be familiar with this concept because many teachers use this method. I will show them where the box is located, and for the first few homework assignments I will remind them to hand their homework in. After that, I will expect them to automatically turn in any assignment.
  • I will expect students to follow whatever tardiness policy is mandated by my school, especially in my first years of teaching. It is important that students understand why promptness is important: tardiness is a sign of disrespect to others in your class, showing that you do not value their time. However, I understand fully when there is an occasional slipup. When this becomes chronic, I will intervene to the extent the school demands. Transitions in class are another time in which students may feel the urge to discuss matters not related to school. As long as they are ready to learn when the transition has been completed, this will not bother me. I think it is somewhat ridiculous to assume one can achieve total silence in a classroom, and I also think it is not necessarily something for which to strive.

Prevent downtime and maintain activity flow:
  • When I am able to interact with other people and when I am working, I am a high energy person. I expect my classroom to be the same way; students should not feel tired during my lessons, and I will do everything I can to ensure they remain attentive. By “downtime” I think you meant “time without direct or indirect instruction” but I also take it to mean “time when students are bored by class.” This is a massive problem in school and one I hope to alleviate by maintaining constant positive interactions with students. This, I expect, will force them to stay interested in a lecture or discussion. As for activity flow, I will employ a language many of my low-income students will identify with – sports. At Phoebus, for example, it is common for well over a thousand people to attend their football games. I will strive to challenge my students to flow quickly from activity to activity by creating and utilizing sports analogies (or other analogies that students in my class enjoy).
  • Again, this will depend largely on the student or students that I receive for my class. However, I can again use an example in class to reflect on how I will not handle a pull-out service. One student of mine has autism but expresses atypical symptoms (according to my CT). He is highly expressive and gets into serious trouble because he has no filter from his thoughts to his words. (He says some pretty heinous things in class when he is excited.) At times, he must be removed from class to calm down or to focus on work when he is distracted. This usually upsets him tremendously and he causes major distractions to his classmates. In this particular case, then, I would work to establish a pull-out routine with him so that his pull-outs were not attached to misbehavior. They would still accomplish the same goals of keeping him from distracting other students and maximizing his learning.

Instruction Organization and Management

When, how, and why I will group students:
  • Social studies is a content area that lends itself well to group activities. Many of the lessons that I have already planned involve many different scenarios that call for groups. When I want quick, conversational groupings I have elected to put students into pair groups. When they are in pairs, they will have a very hard time talking with one another, and this is a great way to break in students to the idea of in-class discussion. A second type of grouping which has them in groups of three or four is for longer-form activities. These activities will likely be whole lessons long and will be designed to have students collectively complete an in-class assignment. Still another type is the fishbowl grouping model, which I will use when having a seminar discussion. This breaks the class into two groups and allows them to delve deeply into particular texts or issues.
  • I understand that in order to be engaging, I have to compete with amazing distractions like internet and television programming. This will be difficult. However, I think that by creating a community environment built on caring and respect in my class I can persuade students to invest their time and interest in my class and other students. I will work day and night to show my students that I care about their academic and emotional wellbeing; I expect that some will respond to this better than others, but I also expect that many students will respect my devotion to my profession at least.

Expectations for Student Behavior

My theory of discipline:
  • My theory of discipline is an idealistic mix between medium- and low-control styles. I am deeply convinced that theorists like Alfie Kohn are onto something very important when they offer critiques of classrooms. I am persuaded by the idea that the curriculum and organizations of schools can be oppressive by nature, as is argued by Paulo Freire. However, I fear that these are not practical for my situation. By the time students enter my classroom, they have been normalized for as many as ten years. Teachers telling them where to sit, how to act, and what to think. Some students enjoy this while others have developed a rightfully oppositional position to traditional schooling. While I believe I could offer a potential outlet for these students, if it is just one class of dozens they will take in their adult life, I fear that this will only confuse them and set them up for disciplinary problems in other classes. Additionally, many jobs require the discipline demanded by schools (like sitting in a chair all day to work, or being quiet all the time). So if students take to this low-control (at its purest), they may not have the tools necessary to keep a job. I have thought deeply about this question, because it tortures me, but I think the change in disciplinary models cannot start with schools. It must start with society. For these reasons, I trend towards medium-control disciplinary models. I have read some of Dreikurs’ and Albert’s works; I am persuaded by their models. Simply put, I view them as best reflective of the disciplinary models offered by society and thus the best to use on students so that they develop a familiarity with them. High control classrooms, while enticing for the teacher who wants to transmit as much information to students as possible, hamstrings students’ abilities to become rational actors within society.
  • As I mentioned earlier in this plan, I intend to establish my rules and routines on the first day of school. I think that I will try to establish these rules using Dreikurs’ model that argues students should establish their own rules and limits; this will help them feel a sense of accountability about the rules and also give them a sense of how a democratic society ideally operates. I view my job as preparing students to be effective citizens. The communal establishment of rules will help my students feel agency for perhaps the first time in their educational careers. As to the particular rules that must be established, I feel that this is not as important as the method by which the rules are established. In my limited experience, most students have an implicit understanding of how they are expected to act in a classroom: those who choose to disobey the rules never do so out of ignorance. I have no “pet peeves” that must be established for my class to run effectively, so I think that allowing students to establish whatever rules they desire for my particular classroom (as long as they are not in contravention to schoolwide rules) will not greatly affect my ability to teach or their ability to learn.

On being responsive to diversity:
  • I am opposed to stereotyping, but I see the need to respect persons of other cultures in my classroom. These cultural assumptions may be true, and if they are, I will be responsive to the diversity they represent. However, I refuse to allow these “assumptions” to become stereotypes which will only damage the students I project them onto. That being said, I will be responsive to what I perceive to be “real diversity” – or, the diversity of human experience. I believe that every student comes to my classroom with an entirely unique worldview. For this reason, my management and responsiveness will be based on treating students as individuals, not as ethnicities, genders, or any other category used to group large groups of people together. At my level, these groups are not important – the importance lies in the individual, not the abstract group to which they may or may not belong.

Responses to Inappropriate Behavior

Misbehavior management and response:
  • Minor misbehavior
    • I will employ a list of actions I can take to address minor misbehavior. I will use the “teacher look” to show students my “Withitness”. I will give attention signals with my hand to draw students’ attention to me. I will use proximity to misbehavior to curb problematic actions. My eyes will constantly scan the room and I will call out students who are not acting properly.

  • More serious misbehavior:
    • More serious misbehavior will require deliberative actions to be taken to nip it in the bud. Again, I have an arsenal of tactics at my disposal. I could call for a private conference with the student; I could offer a group contingency; I could take away a student’s privilege’s; or finally, I could call home to the parents to inquire about the misbehavior.

Artifacts:


  • See above for my complete description of my classroom management plan and implementation.