April 2011

Teachers and Classroom Discipline

by Alan Haskvitz

National Teachers Hall of Fame

Classroom discipline if probably the most difficult thing for a teacher to master. However, although it may be tiresome there are a few rules that might provide help. First, don’t be a buddy. Secondly, contact the parents frequently for all reasons, good and bad. Third, talk with other teachers about your concerns. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for ideas. Fourth, avoid putting a student or yourself in a corner. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask administration for help. This all sounds so easy, but it never is and there are many times when you go home and can’t leave your work at school. I suggest you check out the stress sites below as well as keep a diary of what happens each day at school, good or not so good. At the end of the school year take a look at what you have written. It may reveal some insights into what worked and what didn’t but more importantly it might just reveal that you may have let a few bad days nullify a lot of bright ones.

Here are some good resources that provide a lot of valuable ideas.

Stress sites


New Teacher Help


Resources for teachers in all areas


Horace Mann offers valuable services in case of an assault


What is your classroom management style?

Take the test.


How to use your time between classes and in the classroom to help control problems.


Set limits

How to use your voice and body to control classes.


Teaching responsibility


Dr. Mac’s site

You must go here and see the oodles of ideas,


Over 400 links to behavior and class management sites


How to make rules


Dealing with the student who does not care


An excellent review of the literature. Check out the summary and what works and does not work.


Controlling escalating behavior problems and possible interventions


Avoiding verbal confrontations


Some good insights from a young teacher including grading ideas.


Ways to check your program and see if it is working


You can handle them all

A terrific site with over 100 potential behavior problems and ides on how to handle them.


Example of letter sent home at start of year.


A nice compilation of information from setting up the classroom to meeting with parents.

Importance of time on task


School safety links


Advise from veteran teachers.

No holds barred here.


Huge array of classroom management links


Ideas about bathroom breaks


Talking about sex in a non-health classroom


Class rules

Examples for each grade level.


Ten activities for creating classroom rules


Information on bullying


Large selection about dealing with bullying


Positive Reinforcement site

Has examples and a quiz.


Rules for working with Paraeducators


Teachers’ organization provides information on behavior and when to contact an attorney.


How to document student behavior




Management problems for children with special traits such as ADD


Classroom adjustments for special education


Working with shy students


Frequently asked questions


Classroom Management and Discipline Sites


Classroom Discipline Help


Tips for new teachers


Student discipline and the new teacher

An interesting article about the frustrations of teaching, especially without a good preparation program.


General articles from teachers

Teachers are always the best sources for information on student discipline.


American Federation of Teachers

Suggestions and tips


Teacher to teacher suggestions


Short slide show on essence of student discipline


Suggested Reading List

Good start for setting up a program


Research on Discipline


Simplified explanation of needed steps to follow


Guide to School Discipline


An example of a school district code


From Canada: A Zero Tolerance Program


Washington State Booklet for Parents


Excellent collection of teacher ideas and articles


I am Sorry I am a Teacher

by Alan Haskvitz

12,000 free lessons for teachers


27,000 free teaching videos


For over 45 years I have enjoyed making a living teaching. It hasn’t been easy or lucrative, but it had its rewards, one of which was a secure retirement plan.

Now, after reading the recent California Little Hoover Commission Report that recommends that public school retirements be reduced, even for those who are already retired, and the actions of the Ohio, Idaho, Wisconsin Republicans in accusing  teachers and their pensions and bargaining rights as mainly responsible for that state’s financial situation, I am sorry I became a teacher. I honestly didn’t mean to place so many states in danger of going bankrupt.

I also realize now that I am sorry to have chosen education as a career for other reasons. I am sorry that my wife may have to work until she is well past 70 and endure the rigors of 12 hour shifts as a nurse. I am sorry that I may become a burden to my children because my retirement income won’t cover the costs of extended care. I am sorry for those students I encouraged to become teachers, telling them to ignore the glow of the better paying professions.

I am sorry that the government is punishing me for being a civil servant by taking away over 60 percent of the Social Security benefits I had paid for during years of part-time work in the private sector to help put two children through college. I am sorry that, if I outlive me wife, I won’t be eligible for her Social Security benefits because I am a public servant.

I am also very sorry that the vast conservative media has chosen teachers as a topic for loathing and hatred.

I am sorry that the right-wing politicians and conservative think tanks are at work to convince the public that education would work better if schools were private. I am sorry that the producers of Waiting for Superman didn’t travel a few miles farther to see my school and talk to the parents and students. I am sorry that the writers of the movie didn’t get a chance to see what is really happening in America’s schools. Sorry they didn’t call their work, Waiting for Funding.

The bullying of educators using misleading facts is rampant. Most recently, Wisconsin teachers, fighting merely for the right to negotiate as a union, were accused of causing over seven million dollars of damages to the state capitol building and grounds. The media spread that lie and never followed up with the fact that the damages never were properly assessed.(1) Sorry to say, but this is just one example of the media’s bullying of teachers. When is the last time the public learned that 145,100 public school teachers were physically attacked and that 276,000 were threatened with injury?(2)  And they say the press is liberal? (3)

I am also sorry that, as a teacher, I did such a poor job of teaching students to think for themselves, and let the fear mongers drug their critical thinking skills. I am sorry that I spent so much time getting my students ready for the state test that I did a poor job of teaching them to ask for proof when an organization says it offers fair and balanced news reporting.

Until today I never stopped to look at what my decision to become a teacher had cost. I wrote a letter to one of the commissioners on the Little Hoover Commission expressing how my decision to become a teacher had cost my family dearly and that their findings made me sorry I had become a teacher.

The response was hardly unexpected. The secretary of the commissioner responded by writing that teaching was a valued profession. But apparently not valued enough for the commission to advise the California legislature not to leave the teacher retirement plan alone. After all, the budget has to be balanced and God-forbid there is a tax increase. Sorry to say, their recommendations, if followed, would result in extensive court battles, legal costs, and the possibility that teachers would continue to be the scapegoats whenever the economy is troubled. By the way, sorry to say, not one member of the Little Hoover Commission is a teacher or educator, and the commission is dominated by big business members. The findings of the Little Hoover Commission are not unexpected given President Hoover’s legacy.

I left the financial world after tiring of the constant manipulation of the general public to add to the company’s bottom line. I am sorry I didn’t fight my temptation to help others and instead stay in the corporate world with a secretary, reserved parking spot, executive dinning room, paid-for college courses, free health care, my own office, and a chance to continue to hobnob with the movers and shakers of the world from Richard Nixon and king maker Asa Call, to Ronald Reagan.

At age 22 I had my own upscale apartment in Los Angeles and a racing Cobra. Life was good and the pension plan was lucrative as I had to pay nothing into it. The company was going to move to a beach community and I would have been a made man. All I had to do was ignore my desire to help others.

Sorry, but I couldn’t resist; I entered a teaching college and, now, over 45 years later, I have a lot of apologizes to hand out.

I know that my fellow teachers have spent decades teaching our students about the evils of bullying and to not tolerate it. The theme “Don’t be a Bystander” is one of our major lesson plans. And yet, I am sorry to say, we are now the ones being bullied. Perhaps it is time for us to join together and write letters, make phone calls, and express ourselves to our elected officials to let them know that there are millions of teachers who vote and we won’t want them to be sorry.(4)

National Hall of Fame Educator, Alan Haskvitz, has been selected one of the most outstanding educators in the nation and world seven times. He has earned honors for his work in social studies, history, agriculture, art, coaching, English and language arts, science, and has been featured on television, radio, in textbooks, and major periodicals. Most recently nearly 95 percent of his multicultural students finished in the top categories of California’s standardized test. He has taught at every grade level and most subject areas and most recently was chosen as one of the 50 most important educators in the world. He is a classroom teacher.


1 Madison capitol damage lie


2 Teachers attacked, threatened


Press is not liberal – research


4.Contact information for all state and national officals


Teaching and Stress – Great sites to help reduce stress.