You will find several teaching tips that have been implemented by many teachers to get their students to learn and behave in the classroom. Teachers are much smarter than their students and only wish to help them achieve success.The students, however, think they are the smart ones. Hopefully these tips will help prove them wrong.
- 1. When teaching older students I found they whine a lot: "You like the boys better than the girls;" "That's not fair," etc. A good response to this kind of whine is simply -"You know, you are probably right." You thwart them by agreeing with them. What can they say?
2. Work passes - I gave out free work passes for everything imaginable: perfect attendance for the week, prizes for games, anything that made them better students. The passes were for one daily assignment that was not a major project. Since I gave a grade of 100 to daily work that was completed and turned in, that was the grade I put in the grade book for a pass. If you use this idea you might want to tailor it to your grading system. I actually had some students never turn them in - they were just too proud of receiving them (good students, of course).
NOTE: Make sure that there is a place for your original signature so an enterprising student cannot forge your passes.
3. Discipline is always a hard thing to accomplish, but it is very necessary for the learning process to happen. I have found that "punishing" bad behavior does not always work. A teacher has to find out what makes the students want to do what you want them to do in the classroom. How you do that can be complicated, will involve quite a bit of work, but will be worth it in the long run. You have to trick them.
Example: When teaching high school I had students constantly arriving late to class and standing around talking when the bell rang. This particular school did not require students to report to the office to get a pass to class. I knew that I would have to outsmart them. This is what I did.
In preparation for my idea, I had to create a poster with each class listed that was large enough to post in the front of the room, so each class could see it. The new rules were simple, i.e. I counted those students who arrived after the tardy bell and entered the number by class period. I also counted the students who were not seated and added that number to the list. Anyone who wandered around during class was also counted. OK, you probably say "So what?"
Well there had to be a reward for the class with the least points at the end of the week. I had the week run from Friday to Friday and the reward was awarded on that Friday after tallying the numbers at the end of each period on Thursday. You see they had to see on Thursday if they had won. My reward was a day of reading magazines, newspapers, etc. What they wanted to read. I taught English so this was an acceptable reward. (Reading always helps with English.) Math teachers could offer math puzzles, Science teachers could do the same or you could even allow the students to get caught up with your assignments for the week without penalty.
The bottom line is that in a couple of weeks, my students were seated and ready to do whatever I had planned for them EVERY DAY. Every student in the class became responsible for the others and applied peer pressure to get everyone seated by the time the bell rang. A reward is a reward is a reward to a student. It does not matter what it is - if it is something that someone else cannot get, it is fine.