The foundational aspects of classroom discipline authority, as outlined in Part 1, allow you to make the following steps very effective.
Let's take an example from one of the case studies in Part 1: "Jake." His pattern was to proclaim that my instructions were stupid and mutter to those around him that they didn't need to follow them.
First, don't set up a battle you can't win. You cannot physically make the child stop talking or shredding his paper or making faces, so don't even insist on it. Other classroom interventions are much more effective.
Next, it's time for clear teacher-student communication, explaining your expectation to the child, just as you would for any other classroom behavior or class activity:
"Jake, my expectation is that everyone is working quietly on their math worksheet. If you have some questions for me about the problems I'll be glad to help you."
Assuming the behavior does not stop, let the rest of the class know what is going on.
Ignore me at your peril!
"Jake is struggling to meet expectations and needs some time to work on that. We are going to ignore him and continue with our math worksheet."
If the disruption continues to create poor classroom behavior at a level you can't ignore, give the child a choice.
"Jake, if you don't think you can start meeting expectations, you can choose to think about it in the office or in Mr. Dillard's room."
TIP: This choice is facilitated by a call to the office or the other teacher to explain what is happening and the expected behavior that will allow the student to return to the room.
If the child refuses to move and the disruption to classroom discipline continues, it is time to call for backup from the office. The principal can then offer more choices to the child. It might sound like this:
"Jake, you need some time to figure out the impact you are having on the other kids in the class. You can come with me to the office and we can talk to your mom or the counselor about the best thing to do."
Absolute refusal to budge in the face of even the principal's involvement is rare, especially if the student is given some face-saving "outs" in the form of making a choice. If it does occur, then you and your principal need to be ready to call the parent to come to the school immediately, or to call in other school resources.
I have, on one occasion, had a police officer remove a student from the school. The parent, monitoring caller ID, would not answer the phone and the child was displaying classroom discipline behavior that absolutely could not be tolerated in any educational environment.
This was done in consultation with my principal who made the call, stating:
"I have a child who is endangering himself and others. I can't get hold of his parents and I can't risk driving him myself. He really needs to go home."
As might be expected, this made a huge impression on the child and his family and helped establish that the school was very serious about creating a safe learning environment for all students.
Alternately, in an extreme situation, you may be in a position to remove the class from the child by going out for a short recess or, if the timing is right, heading out for lunch, music, library, etc. Of course, this can only be done if the principal or another adult is already involved and can stay with the student.
You have now been warned that this behavior is going to be a problem and can proactively increase your chances of success in the next round. You do this by reducing the student's position of power by rearranging his seating. As explained on that page, it must be done thoughtfully, with kindness, and fully explained to the student.
You should also take the opportunity to keep your classroom community informed about what is happening.
Once you figure out how to handle the worst that can happen, you can handle any disruption to your classroom discipline plan with confidence.
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