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12 Thoughts For Good Teaching

1. Be consistent. When you reprimand an action one day and ignore it the next, children do not know what to expect.  As a result, they’ll often try it again to see if they can “get away with it.”  They are also quick to see and resent the basic unfairness of inconsistency.
2. Do not make idle threats. If you decide that punishment is necessary, carry it out, or your words will have no meaning.
3. Look for the reasons behind misbehaviors. It often stems from the fact that the curriculum or the teaching approach does not interest your students.
4. Be sure that all students know the rules. If you expect your pupils to behave in a certain way, tell them so, and explain the reasons why. A class discussion of these rules can be enlightening both to you and your class. You may discover that some of your rules have no real purpose.
5. Check you own feelings about individual students. Do you “play favorites”? It’s hard to like sullen or rebellious students, easy to like the quiet conformists, but your dislike of the rebel could incite more rebellion.
6. Watch your tongue. A tongue-lashing may end the disturbance, but at what cost? The teacher’s tongue can hurt worse than anything else. Something you say may leave wounds that never heal.
7. Do not make study a punishment. Studying should not be an unpleasant thing.
8. Let your students know that you like them. Look for things to praise, especially in students who are discipline problems. Accept them as worthwhile, in spite of their misbehavior. Disapprove the act, certainly, but not the individual.
9. Do not try to do the impossible.  Some students have emotional problems only a person with different training can solve.  When a youngster is a consistent troublemaker, and your efforts to help him/her fail, the time has come to refer the child and parents to the school counselor, psychologist, or other resource professional who provides such services.  There are limits to what a teacher can do in child study, diagnosis, and treatment.
10. Control your temper. Flying off the handle merely shows students that they’ve gotten to you.  When you “lose your cool,” you lose your ability to solve the discipline problem sanely, rationally,and thoughtfully.  Remain cool when things get hot.
11. Do not be afraid to apologize if you have treated a pupil unjustly. You will gain, not lose, the respect of the class for admitting your error.  Remember the golden rule and treat students with the same dignity and respect that you expect from them.
12. What you see as delinquent behavior may be normal behavior in a child’s cultural background. It may take time, patience,and tact to change the pattern.  Just because you understand it does not mean you have to tolerate the actions.

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inClass News

inClass News

inClass News is the weekly newsletter of United Educators Association. If you have ideas or requests for content that you would like to see, please email
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