Ideas for New Middle School Teachers

In order to teach, you must have control over your classroom. This does not mean you should act like a dictator. If you try to teach without establishing control, then the quality of teaching will suffer.
  • In order to have true respect, you must give it. This does not mean that you accept undesirable comments in the classroom nor does it mean that you can run a classroom without some consequences.
  • In order to have discipline there will be consequences for bad decisions. This does not mean that consequences must be harsh to accomplish its job. Harsh consequences do not accomplish much except for breeding hatred. Consequences should fit the offense. Often the natural consequence is the best.
  • In order to be the authority figure in a classroom, there is an imaginary line that you shouldn’t cross. Does that mean you cannot be a friend to your students? No, it means that if the friendship gets in the way of education, then it has crossed the imaginary line. (For instance, others may see such conduct as playing favorites and it could undermine your relationships with them.)
  • A teacher cannot always be fair, but should strive to fairly apply the rules.
  • A positive classroom will accomplish much more than a classroom that is filled with negativism–don’t threaten your students.
  • If you discipline in anger, your judgment can be in error. Learn to be calm in the face of problems. It will be a healthier approach for you, and your students will learn from your problem solving abilities. Don’t take your students’ remarks personally–students at this age may hate a teacher one day and love him/her then next. It is a sign of their age, not their overall opinion of the teacher.
  • It is important to act, not react. Give students choices–for example: 1. You may leave the room and go to . . . . .(a pre-selected place–maybe another teacher can provide a time out corner if you don’t have a time out room). 2. You may stay here and make changes in your personal choices. 3. You may stay in the room, but change your seat to an area where you agree there will be fewer problems.—When you give students choices, they have power–power to make a good choice and continue receiving instruction.
  • If the emotional and/or physical well being of a student is at risk, then the offender should be removed from the room–no choices.
  • If teachers copy the discipline style of another, it may not fit them or their classroom. Classroom control, like teaching, requires personalization–what works best for your class is what you should do.
  • The above list is generalities that work. Think about using them…. Whatever you choose, keep a positive atmosphere in the classroom.

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