In just two weeks, I’m completely overwhelmed with discipline problems!

QUESTION: School has been in session for just two weeks. This is my first year of using the Discipline without Stress approach. Already I find myself completely overwhelmed with discipline and behavior issues. I’m actually feeling quite a bit of stress about discipline! What should I do? DR. MARSHALL’S RESPONSE: Revisit the four-part Discipline without Stress Teaching Model. Many so-called “discipline problems” can be avoided altogether by proactively teaching classroom procedures. Go back and pretend it’s the first day of school. Start teaching procedures for everything–don’t assume students know how to do anything. Process precedes product. Teaching procedures comes before attempting to teach anything else. Teach an attention management signal: Raise a hand, count, give me five, clap once if you can hear me, flick the lights etc. Then practice it. Time how long it takes for the class to become quiet and then say, “That took us __ seconds but I bet we can do it in a shorter period of time!” (Notice that this is a challenge–which kids love–and it‘s positive!) Be prepared to have more than one attention management approach. It’s wise to train students to respond to three or four different attention management signals so as to keep their interest through variety. Have patience. Plan on practicing any procedure 10 times if necessary and remember–periodically, procedures need to be reinforced. After each practice, have students evaluate the level of their performance, A, B, or C. (Anarchy, Bothering others, or Cooperating) Many pages of related posts regarding classroom management (as the foundational block of  this discipline approach) can be found here.