After posting on Sunday for the first time in months, I read through some posts that were over 2 years old. That class was rough. The year was rough both personally and professionally. Reading through made me remember some not so pleasant things I tried to block out. But it also made me see that, even though I was really hard on myself for student behavior (it was horrible), it wasn't me. The things I had written about student behaviors haven't changed. The students still have the same, if not worse behavior now. The same students were still behaving the same way, 2 years later. Nothing has changed, and the kids know they can behave that way and there are minimal consequences.
It made me sad. And mad. And frustrated that things haven't changed, nor will they in the near future. Discipline is not the strong suit of our principal. While very caring and friendly, there is very little discipline there. A "talking to" doesn't cut it. Missing recess for weeks on end doesn't cut it. Being "suspended" from your home class and spending days/weeks in another class does nothing but punish the students and teacher who are having to deal with the crappy behavior of the suspended student. Our older students know they can get away with anything and there is little recourse to their actions. It makes it very hard for the teachers to get tough with kids, as they know its pointless.
In the past, I've always used a behavior clip chart. Move your clip for poor behavior, blah blah. I added spots to move up for good behavior, but let's be honest. It's much easier to call out bad behavior instead of good behavior. I'm going to change things this year. I'm going to rip the behavior chart off the wall and throw it away. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, but I'm going to do it. I'm going to go with a ticket system and use free rewards. I'm also going to jump into using brag tags with both feet! These are all new to me and a bit overwhelming right now, but I think it'll be good. Focus on the positive rather than the negative and show the kiddos how much fun they can have when they're good. It'll be a change for me, but one I hope is for the better.
It's my hope that I can have my students behave, learn the rules and follow them, if it's only for one year. Sadly it becomes a free for all come 2nd grade, and then it's a lost cause after that. But for one year, I want students who are kind, caring and rule followers. If I can teach them that, I've won half of a battle!