Here is the problem. Behavior management. Behavior
management is a common struggle for new teachers and a common topic to come up
in a teacher job interview.
My main problem is the largest of the three classes I
teach. The 19 students are all very high functioning. AND LOUD. I don’t have
disruptive outbursts or any of the extreme behaviors you hear horror stories
about in college and that fellow Reality
101 blogger Kaylie experienced recently. I just have students that like to
talk and talk loudly.
In academic terms, I would define the problem behaviors
as “off-task” and “talking out.” In classroom terms, I just call it “chaos.” Just
about the time I can get one group quiet, another group starts up. When I move
to quiet them, the first group is back at it.
I want a behavior management system that uses positive
reinforcement for behavior and that also has negative consequences for negative
behaviors. In the school-wide behavior referral system, principals give out punishments
ranging from lunch detention, after-school detention, in-school suspension
(ISS), and out of school suspension (OSS).
The system works for major disruptive behaviors, but for
in-class behavior management you don’t want to spend your whole day writing
behavior referrals every time your students talk without permission. Also, if
you want to be firm on behavior management and follow the school policy with
referrals, you run the risk of being labeled as “the new teacher who can’t
control any of his students.”
I’ve mentioned before that I love the CEC Tool of the Week. The Tool on acceptable
rewards/reinforcers was a good start in my hunt for a better system and got
me thinking about rewards I could offer my students.
My question now is how can the students earn these
rewards? Should students earn reinforcers on a weekly basis, daily basis or
monthly basis? Should I make “prices” for the reinforcers that the students
have to earn points towards (token economy system)? My only stipulation for a
behavior system is no stickers. Any system that requires stickers will be
rejected. My classmates during my undergraduate years can attest to the fact
that I have a thing against stickers in my classroom. So stickers aside, I’m open
to any and all suggestions.
Since I teach job skills, should I make a paycheck
simulation type of system where students get a “paycheck” based on behavior? Do
I have the students keep track of their own points earned or do I keep track of
it (MORE PAPERWORK!!)? Should I use a tangible reinforcer like tokens or less
tangible reinforcers like points on a sheet?
Reality 101 is supposed to be about sharing successes and failures of the first years of
teaching. So here is one of the low points of my teaching. I am completely
without suggestions or tips for future teachers in this area.
I asked an experienced teacher that I respect to observe
me teach and give feedback. I even stooped so low as to explore Pinterest
(GASP!) for suggestions on behavior management at the high school level and was
told “No results match this search.” When Pinterest doesn’t have a suggestion
for you, you know you are desperate.
I would love to hear examples of behavior management
systems that work from teachers who have taught at the high school level or students
who have done internships at the high school level. Or perhaps you have never
taught in high school, but you have ideas or suggestions for me. I’m all ears.