Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Creative Discipline

I know I've written a lot about my attempts at controlling my classroom, but I haven't really talked about specific discipline methods. You know, the kind that would get me fired from any school in North America.

When I first got here, I remember being told that having a student stand up, face a wall, and/or leave the class was perfectly acceptable a lot by my superiors. I remember thinking that, although atypical of the discipline methods I had seen in classrooms up to that point, they weren't such outliers as to be completely useless tactics for me.

And then I started hearing more stories of...creative discipline, as used by my co-workers. And I figured some of it didn't sound half bad. This, combined with the additional stress of teaching three new classes, having to prove myself as a capable teacher in control of a classroom, has led to some interesting methods in the last couple weeks. Which is how I accidentally fell into this situation:


I googled "corporal punishment hands in the air" just to check that what I did to my poor student, Tom, was really corporal punishment. All the search results were about Korea. There you go. I'd originally heard of my boss doing this to a student from another teacher, but at the time, I thought it disgusting. But then I actually started teaching.

So the story goes like this. In my smart, boss'-favorite-class PK1, I have this student Tom, who is a real joker. He is a very respectful boy, usually, but he is definitely getting to that age where kids start thinking "Why should I do what you tell me to do?"

So he was speaking in Korean non-stop during class, while other students were reading. I told him to cut it out. After about ten seconds, his chatter started up again. "Tom," I told him. "I need you to stop speaking in Korean. If you can't quit it, you can stand against the wall." In typical prepubescent boy way, he tested me by speaking in Korean, so I made him stand up. Things were pretty congenial at this point. He didn't get moody and pissy, he stood up with that goofy grin on his face, just wondering how far he could push me. So still, the Korean wouldn't stop flowing from his trap. So I said, "That's it, hands in the air." At this point, the whole class (all four of us) is laughing, including Tom. So then I make Tom read from the book sitting on the desk, with his hands in the air. It was all we could do to get through the paragraph.

After that, I let him sit down and I've never had Tom, or any of the rest of the class, test me again. We are buds and it was all in good fun. Of course, it's not exactly a story I would want to rehash with a future employer in youth services.

 And then there was that time:


Yeah, it happened, okay? My kindy kids were running around like crazy people during our bathroom break, so I said "Excuse me! My class is acting like animals!" Which only led to all eight of them hopping around making animals noises. So I leaned in real close and told them, "Animals can't go to the bathroom inside. Do you need to go to the bathroom outside?" They all nodded vigorously, still acting like loons. So I called up the elevator. Which is about the time one girl started crying about how she didn't want to go to the bathroom outside. So sue me.

But honestly, I have been trying to think of more creative discipline ideas, things closely tied into the crime, but I'm coming up with nothing here. Ideas are welcomed! I think my class even appreciates it.


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