Tough Love

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: It has been like a broken record this year.  A mantra repeated over and over again to my students.  I get tired of saying it.  They get tired of hearing it.  And yet nothing is changing. 

“Please stop talking.”

There are times when sarcasm will spew from my mouth, adding something like, “Gee, make a prediction what I am going to say right now!”  That never goes over too well. 

I sat down for about 10 minutes with each class yesterday talking about our year.  We discussed our strengths, our improvements needed, and where we wanted to go as 2nd quarter begins.  The kids said all the right things.  They just need to show it. 

I finished our heart to heart with something I have needed in my classroom but just haven’t implemented.  I introduced to them my Refocus Form.  They groaned, having already heard about it in Science class, and now having a second teacher adopting it was frustrating.

I can hear your thoughts.  Oh, please, do tell!  Allow me to explain.  The top of the form has a quick check box section where I mark which rule was violated: safety, out of seat without permission, respect, talking without raising your hand, etc.  You get the point.

Below that there are two questions with ample space to respond.  The first asks the kid what they did wrong, and the second asks them how they will behave next time.  Finally, there is the accountability at the bottom, a place for three signatures from the student, teacher, and (gulp) a parent.

You see, as my students got their 1st quarter grades, I too reflected on my teaching first quarter, realizing that I had absolutely no consequences for misbehavior.  None whatsoever.  It was always a little slap on the wrist, and then we moved on.  And guess what?

Nothing changed.

Today, armed with my new Refocus Forms, I must stand by my new policy.  I have to amp up my discipline now before things get too out of hand.  And the word discipline doesn’t have to have a negative connotation.  Soak in the scripture below.

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)

Or what about this verse? 

“For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” (Proverbs 3:12)

Teenagers may not understand that now, but they will in due time.  Have consequences and stick to them.  Hold students accountable for their behavior.  It may be rocky to begin with, but the rewards down the road will be worth the struggle. 

Challenge: What do you do to refocus your students’ behavior?  What consequences do you hold students accountable to?  Reflect over these questions and share ideas in a reply below on how you handle misbehavior.  We are all in this together, and I would love to spread the ideas!

Blog suggestions: Do you have a topic you would like to hear about?  Please do not hesitate to email me at to suggest one. 

Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …

  • Praise God for the scriptures above that help guide our classroom management.
  • Pray that your discipline can be consistent and loving, all while holding students accountable for their actions.

Just for fun: We chose superhero mascots for all my classes yesterday.  I smiled at the innocence of my 5th hour class.  Their superhero of choice?  The Powerpuff girls. 

Prayer: Lord, thanks for the loving discipline You show me in your Word.  May I show that same tough love to my students.  Amen.

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