Core scripture: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).
Message: I have a problem. Not sure if you are in the same boat, but do you all have any classroom rules once enforced that have gone to the wayside? It grates on my nerves. I always start off the year with a stronger crack-the-whip approach, and somehow, someway—more than likely as the kids and I become more relaxed into 3rd quarter—that approach is abolished. Kaput. I start letting little rules be broken, and do you know what? The kids see it. They take advantage of every inch I give them. As captain of this ship, I must get all hands on deck. No more, I say! And you know what? It starts today.
Don’t you know the little munchkins need it? Especially after being on Spring Break and doing whatever they want for a week. They will come back feisty and full of energy. Reckless and rowdy. The tempo must be set today. Not out of a strict dictatorship my-way-or-the-highway approach. Out of love. “For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child” (Hebrews 12:6). I try to tell my son that when he gets put in time out or when his Wii time gets taken away. He just rolls his eyes. I pat him on the head and tell him he’ll understand one day when he is a parent himself.
Wait a second. Didn’t my Mom tell me that same thing as a kid? I digress …
Brothers and sisters in Christ, I give you three simple steps to 4th quarter classroom management. First and foremost, find two or three rules that you know you can crack down on. For me, it was pretty easy yesterday. I realized my tardy policy has been somewhat lax; the kids are supposed to be in their seats at the bell, and I typically allow them to roam free. They used to be good at giving me an ID card when they borrow a pencil. Not anymore. I have lost more pencils than hairs on my bald head this year! Finally, my get quiet signal has become ineffective. When I say “Ohana” the class is supposed to say “Family” and get quiet. Oh, they say family. They just suck at being quiet.
Did I just say suck in a blog? Not so professional, Daniels. My bad. Obviously a little frustration spilling in! I digress once more …
Step two is to remind the students and practice if needed. I will be doing both today. I might even have a student who has an ID card on hand walk up to the basket-o-writing utensils to act out the proper way to check out a pencil from me. Some might see it as hokey or lame. I am sure to get some eye rolls and laughter. But it is sure to stick better that way, right? And don’t you know we will practice my get quiet signal. Not just today but ALL WEEK! Back in August I put them through a boot camp with Captain Daniels (aka me with an Army cap on impersonating a Southern drill sergeant). I think Captain Daniels shall return. Today. Five times to be exact, and his first appearance shall be in a little over an hour.
Step three is hands down the most difficult one. It is so easy to remind students of rules and practice them. Actually DOING it and remaining consistent, enforcing the unenforceable … that takes dedication. Make an example of someone. Do you want that example to be impactful? Find a kid that has never been redirected before and lovingly hold them accountable. The class will be dead quiet. Whispers will sweep the room. Jaws will drop. And little Mr. or Mrs. Goody Two Shoes might even shed a tear. Calm them down, give them a pat on the back if they need it, and move on. Your kids will test you. Don’t give them an inch of space. Amen?
Army cap ready? Check. Southern drill sergeant voice ready to go? Check. Coffee flowing through my veins to power me through the day? You know it! It is time, people. Enforce those rules. Crack that whip, but do so out of love. Proverbs 3:11-12 states, “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” You may come across stern on the outside, but these kids will appreciate the consistency and structure. And who knows? A few of them might even treat their own children like that down the road.
Challenge: Think of your top three rules that you want to enforce 4th quarter. Remind your students of the rules, practice them if needed, and remain consistent the rest of the way. (Easier said than done, right?)
Video application: I enjoyed this short video about classroom management and believe you too will find a tip or two to amp up your classroom management for the last quarter.
Journal/Accountability: Take time to journal or talk to a trusted friend about your classroom rules. Reflect on what has worked this year and what needs to change, then write some ideas for next year.
Quote: “In an effective classroom students should not only know what they are doing, they should know why and how.” (Harry Wong)
Other scripture: Look up Proverbs 12:1, Proverbs 3:11-12, and Proverbs 13:24. Reflect how they can assist your classroom management.
Prayer: Lord, empower me to show loving discipline toward my students. Amen.