Today TE’s cohort of new teachers had a session on issuing consequences—not any teacher’s favorite part of their job, but arguably one of the most important to ensure good classroom management and ultimately to maximize learning time. Students respect teachers who are consistent and fair, and students like to know the teacher has authority and control in the room. Good behavior management makes students feel safe and clears the pathway for teachers to be the most effective instructors of their content.
A large part of today’s content session focused on how to give a consequence in order to promote a positive climate in your classroom. Below are four things that all teachers should keep in mind when holding students accountable to expectations.
- Issue a consequence in a calm, neutral tone – Avoid anger, frustration, and sarcasm. Although you may feel extremely frustrated at times, it is so important that you do not show that frustration to students. Showing frustration will damage your relationship with that student and will also let students know what your triggers are.
- Be reliable, predictable, and consistent – Students won’t have to guess or test what your reaction or response might be when you are consistent. Issuing the same consequence to ALL students every time will keep students from feeling targeted by you.
- Use direct language – Avoid phrases such as, “Do you want another mark?” or “How many demerits do you want to get today?” Questions invite answers, and you do not actually want to know how many demerits a student wants today. Instead directly address the misbehavior and what you want the student to do to next.
- Dispassionately state the behavior that earned the consequence – Telling students what they did wrong will lead to less push-back and arguing after the consequence. Try using phrases like, “The expectation right now is that you are taking notes, but you choosing to have your head down. That will be a mark for not following directions.”
Many other aspects of consequences were covered in today’s session, including what to give consequences for and when to give consequences publicly vs. privately. What advice do you have for new teachers about giving consequences in their classrooms?