This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.
Rather than the "don't smile before Christmas" attitude that some new teachers are encouraged to take on, I started out smiling on the first day. I take a similar approach to discipline. Rather than running a hard-lined disciplinarian environment, I see myself as a facilitator of a learning community. 95% of my students are respectful and take direction with no problems; when prompted or called on shenanigans, they get to work. That being said, I have a few kids who are not as invested in learning as others (to put it kindly). I've been "differentiating" my instruction and discipline for these few partly because I feel that I'm responsible for them and partly because I don't want to give them the gift of leaving class. More often than not I end up expending extra energy on these few just to get less-than-basic work out of them. It's been weeks and weeks, but still there feels like a respect deficit. I've tried being continually respectful and providing extra copies of assignments, extending deadlines etc. I simply want these kids to read or write something, but I feel that sending them to the office is all I can do next. My fear is that they will go to the office get a slap on the wrist and simply come back more angry than before. My administration is sending a clear message that I won't be viewed negatively for "failing" to contain these students, but I still feel like I'm missing out on something I could be doing. Deep down, I feel like the only time it's truly necessary to send a kid to a principal is when they are a danger to my class. To what point am I responsible for EVERY student's learning? What did you do in your first year with tough kids who didn't want to work?