Disobedient Student Behavior

This has been my most challenging year of teaching ever. I have been at the end of my rope many times. I have looked all year for something new to help me and my students. I was very excited to learn about your ideas at the IRA
(International Reading Association) convention. I know good classroom management begins on day one, but do you have any survival tips for the end of year? I really want to end the year positively so that we all feel good on the last day. It seems impossible as the problems have been worsening all year—everything from no supplies and tardiness to flat refusal to follow even simple directions like, "Please come here." I would be so grateful for even one idea that would make my classroom a better learning environment.

I would not say, "Please come here." In the situation you described, students may interpret it as demeaning in front of their peers. Instead, go over to the student and say, "Don't worry what will happen later. We'll talk about it after class."

When it comes to changing behavior, not knowing what  will happen is far more effective than knowing what will  happen. Young people (really, most people) have a difficult time handling insecurity.

This statement will immediately stop the misbehavior because it will redirect the student's attention. After class or at a quiet moment, elicit a consequence fostered by the misbehavior, e.g., "Shall we have you call a parent and explain your behavior?" "Shall we have you report to the principal and have you describe your level of behavior?" "Or perhaps you have a better idea to control your impulses next time you get an urge to do something you know you should not do."

It is never too late to teach procedures or to introduce the hierarchy of social development. In fact, introducing (or reviewing) the levels can be an excellent approach to end the year and to prompt reflective thinking.

Read "A Letter Worth Reading at

You have the right attitude that will carry you far. But you need a system. The RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM will do it for you—along with next year your structuring and practicing your procedures so that they become routines to the point of even becoming rituals.

Implementing the Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model will truly bring the joy that this wonderful profession has to offer.