A Question of Discipline

What She Wore: burgundy, long-sleeve henley with a deep v-neck; white undershirt; black gauchos; black, leather, knee-high boots.

I work with another woman, and she is really struggling these days with discipline.  She has this one class that just HATES her, and I’m really struggling to understand why.  This job of mine is difficult.  The kids are difficult.  I have never been an ace with the discpline.  I try and try, but generally, I’m a little too lax and the kids take advantag–then I get frustrated and yell.  This is a lot better than it was, but I’m clearly far from perfect.  What I wonder is this?  What makes kids just hate a teacher?  Not just one kid, but a whole group.  What makes one person’s yelling par for the course and anther person’s intolerable?  Any thoughts?
I guess I wasn’t clear–I’m not talking about MY discipline–I’ve been doing this for several years and am a fairly comfortable place with the whole thing.  I just wonder why the kids hate my colleague’s discipline so much.  I just wanted it to be clear that the rest of us aren’t singing them love songs and sneaking them candy bars.  Worry not about me– discipline is a journey, but I’m fairly happy with the where I am along the way.

About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
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26 Responses to A Question of Discipline

  1. Antonella says:

    When I was working with kids, I found that even though I was one of the strictest people there, the kids still really liked me. I\’m not exactly sure why. I think because kids know that when you are strict with them, it\’s for a reason, I wasn\’t mad at them for nothing. But at the same time I was strict, but I really listened to them which is something not many adults do. We talked about other things besides school and they knew that I really cared about them. I THINK that may be part of it, they have to see that you have some kind of soft side, something that they can relate to. And if you\’re too lax, they look at you more as a friend, not as a teacher. Well, that\’s what I think anyway!

  2. Unknown says:

    I work with kids every day, and we are not talking the average child, we are talking about criminals. I am a harda$$ I don\’t give the kids an inch and I don\’t seem to have a lot of trouble with them. Those that give in to the kids have a lot of discipline problems. As far as my job goes, kids need structure and discipline and those that seem to "hand" that out to them seem to have easy days. I am not sure if this even came close to giving you an answer….well no one said i was a genious

  3. Stacy says:

    I\’m not sure why students hate a teacher other than she/he made one mistake one time and it just carries down through each year.  When my oldest was entering 5th grad he got the dreaded Mr. R.  Nobody liked him.  He was evil and mean and strict.  I told TJ to wait until he got in the class to see what his opion was of him.  TJ ended up having this teacher for 4 out of 7 classes.  And he formed his own opinion and he loved him.  He is still one of TJ\’s favorite teachers.  On the other hand he also had a science teacher in 7th grade that he heard the same thing about and it turned out to be true.  He was evil – I met him.  In fact they forced him to retire mid-year and 3rd & 4th Qtr grades all went up in that class.

  4. Nadine says:

     One: they figure your weaknesses and run with it.
     Two: She has done something that ticked them off….they work as a group….to be one.
     Three: The cat is out of the bag and some times there is NO PUTTIN\’ IT BACK!!

  5. Karla says:

    Fairness? If the discipline is applied fairly and evenly and equally to all students all the time. I think problems come in when kids don\’t really know what is expected of them and what they can and can\’t get away with on an given day,

  6. WINDOW LIVE says:

    I agree with Antonella on this one.  My son more often than not liked the strict teachers but they also seemed to be the teachers that had reasons and talked to him as an equal.  I always treated my children like little people.  I never talked down to them.  Then again, sometimes kids just act like asses depending on the time of day!

  7. Kerri says:

    I taught high school for six years.  The last year I taught (2005 – 2005) was the worst year, school, and kids.  I had students that would walk out of my class and anything I tried to do didn\’t work.  I figured out after about a month that it works a lot better if I made discipline their choice.  For example:  I laid down the rules.  If a student wanted to leave class they knew that it was an automatic 10 minutes afterschool (it didn\’t matter if it was to go to the bathroom, the office to call mom to bring them a textbook, or to their locker for supplies)  When they asked to go do one of those things, I said okay you can go, but you will have a 10 minute detention.  It amazed me that when they had the choice they no longer needed to call mom, or go to the restroom.
    What the others have said is also true.  It is more than rules and discipline, it is truly caring for the kids, being fair, showing them respect.

  8. Wahzat says:

    Ok so I have clearly been a way toolong. I hate when I get into the busyness and I can\’t visit my favorite people 🙂
    I wonder about this my self. I think it has to do with the vibes that a person gives off.
    Hope you are having a great week!

  9. Jen says:

    I agree with the whole discipline idea but I can say that any teacher that I have never liked or respected was usually because the person was weasely.  They would be all chummy with adults or fellow teachers but then treat us students like scum.  It just was easy to tell when a teacher wasn\’t sincere in their actions.  But, as I said, I agree with the whole discipline thing, too.  I\’ve seen kids work their parents before!  It\’s pretty amazing!  I have some cousins who were TERRIBLE at disciplining their kids, but the grandparents were GREAT about disciplining when the kids would stay with them.  Anyway, the kids were GREAT kids to be around…as long as they were with their grandparents.  But if they saw their parent\’s car pull into the drive, it was like someone flipped a switch in those kids and they were awful!!  It\’s because they knew that they could get away with atrocious behavior when mom & dad were around.  So, it happens!
    ~Jen from Wyoming 

  10. barnyardmama says:

    Well, guys, you have hit on a number of things that I\’ve seen to be true about discipline–some of which I couldn\’t have said better myslef.  Here are my personal truths about discipline:
    1.  Kids like an orderly classroom and they like the person who keeps it
    2.  Evenly applied discipline?  By George, I think you\’ve got it.  A clear system with oral or visual cues help students monitor their own discipline.
    3. Apply discipline without emotion.  You\’ve got a job to do, it\’s not personal.  This lets kids know it\’s the action, not them.
    4. (Nadine put this so well) If you destroy a kid completely, you won\’t get them back.  If you discipline them, take extra time to make it clear that you don\’t hate them.  Kids always think that adults hate them if they get yelled at.  After sending a kid to suspension, I always welcome them back and say, "it\’s good to have you in class–let\’s try to keep it that way." 

  11. Becca says:

    Can I ask KM, can it be the gang mentality? If one sees that you have a weak point they perpetuate it and the others feed on it and then you lost the whole class? I hope that you are able to get them under control even if you have to have really tough love for awhile to get it.
    Take care,

  12. Unknown says:

    Kids pick up on the real person inside, not the carefully presented outer image. Kids hone in on weaknesses, too.  Maybe the teacher they hate is trying to hard to win their favor?

  13. Unknown says:

    Some people just don\’t mess well together, maybe the other teachers present themselves in a way that the kids feel that they are there for a paycheck and not for them. With my job if a kids senses that you done for. Kids need to know no matter how hard you are on them that you are there because of them.

  14. Alicia says:

    Did she maybe do something to one child that the rest didn\’t think was fair and now they\’re all mad??  Just a thought…sounds like a prickly situation.
    HUGS!  🙂

  15. Hollie says:

    I find when you are inconsitent about discpline that is when you run into trouble, she may have probems with structure and followung thru on what she says.

  16. Hollie says:

    I find when you are inconsitent about discpline that is when you run into trouble, she may have probems with structure and followung thru on what she says.

  17. Christine says:

    I really can\’t answer that.  I think there are some people who just don\’t come across as likable.  Maybe this is where the true problem lies.
    BTW…I couldn\’t wear knee high boots if I wanted to.  You must have thin legs.  🙂

  18. Aimee says:

    with kids it could be anything…it could just be that the coolest kid in the class said that she was not cool…you know kids…they follow anyone for any reason…
    :o) smiles are contagious…pass one to people that you love and those you don\’t… :o)

  19. Tracy says:

    That\’s a good question!  I bet a lot of it has to do with respect and for some reason they just don\’t respect your colleague.  Maybe because she doesn\’t have the discipline thing down yet. 

  20. siobhan says:

    Sometimes there\’s no rhyme or reason as to why kids hate a teacher.  Some little thing rubs them the wrong way and then talking mean about them and disrupting their class gets laughs and the next thing you know the whole class is in on it and the poor teacher is just trying to teach.  A class that is orderly but still fun will almost always keep a kids attention!!

  21. Toni says:

    I. Like. Your outfit of the day. Did you get the boots you wanted?
    Discipline–no advice; however, I will be reading through your comments for tips on how to handle my suddenly smart-alec 10 year old. Geez, it\’s overnight, really. Have a great weekend! ~Toni

  22. Sandy says:

    There are a couple of reasons why kids will "Hate" a teacher: not respecting the kids themselves,  broken promises,  over reacting,  saying one thing but does another,  acting childish and punishing kids for anothers actions or just a single kid for the whole group\’s actions. 
    Too bad you could not ask the kids.  Although they may not tell you because your a teacher too. 

  23. CJ says:

    Tough question, but I would hazard the teacher has not earned their trust or respect.  Likely she just got off on the wrong foot and was never able to recover the ground she lost.

  24. Lizzie-Beth4Him says:

    As a teacher, I was a firm, but loving diciplinarian.  Children respect teachers that care about and see them as individuals, will treat each student with the same respect, be fair and consistent with discipline, and not harp on every little thing. There is some reason they don\’t respect that teacher but I don\’t know enough about her to know the reason.  
    One year I had to take over a fifth grade class where the teacher was fired under circumstances I won\’t mention.  She was young, attractive, and well loved by her students.  They were very confused and upset about her leaving.  The students already knew me from subbing at different times.  I knew they would resent anyone taking her place and let them know from the start that I understood how much they loved her and that it would be difficult to have another teacher take over.  I also let them know that I was not her and would not do things the way she did them, but I would respect and incorportate some of her previous methods, where they would fit in for continuity.   After a time, the students adjusted to my ways, and became comfortable with it.  I never tried to be anything other than myself, or try to be their FRIEND, or to take her place in their hearts.    

  25. David says:

    In my guess…kids can sense a weakness, and pray on it…it is, after all, the responsibility of growing young adults to push the boundaries, and find out what is safe, and acceptable, and what is not.  If they don\’t, they become weak(er) human beings in their adult lives, and if they don\’t, and go  unchecked, they become adult bullies.  We all know people of both types.  Used appropriately, their unruly lack of discipline can be used effectively to teach them what is acceptable in society, and what isn\’t.  Where you stand up for yourself, because you\’re on your own, and where society stands up for you, because you need someone else\’s support.
    -David  //BootJockey

  26. Unknown says:

    I teach 8th grade language arts. I know what you mean about kids hating colleagues– I have a colleague the kids hate. They groan when they have to go to that person\’s class. I like the colleague very much, but they don\’t. I\’ve thought and thought about why this is and I\’ve come to the following conclusions:
    1) Said colleague acts "superior" to them. Colleague has a way of condescending and kids don\’t like that.
    2) Sarcasm– colleague is often sarcastic. Kids also don\’t like that. (As you know.)
    3) Welcoming– Colleague doesn\’t do a lot to make them feel welcome, or to notice them at all. Colleague is often oblivious when we all sit around discussing behaviors the kids are demonstrating, such as bullying. Colleague often doesn\’t realize a certain kid is a bully, snot, etc., because this person is so into their subject matter.

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