I have often wondered if I should have been an elementary school teacher instead of a high school teacher. Elementary school teachers are loved by their students, they get hugs on a regular basis, and they get homemade cookies from their students' parents. Then again, elementary school teachers also get practically no breaks and they have to help people go to the bathroom. I guess there are pluses and minuses to everything.
When it comes to handling discipline, some things are the same for elementary school teachers compared to those teaching other grades, and some things are different. Here are some thoughts about discipline for those who teach younger children:
*Know how you will handle behavior problems ahead of time. No matter what age you are teaching, trying to react to behavior problems on the spot is a good way to stress out and burn out.
*Have real consequences for misbehavior. The sooner kids learn that there are consequences for their actions, both good and bad, the better.
*Be calm when enforcing discipline. Let your consequences speak for themselves. There is no need for consequences plus anger or intimidation.
*Don't try to guilt trip your students. Never say things like "You really hurt my feelings when you act that way" or "You are really stressing me out." Try to avoid bringing your emotions into your discipline process.
*Give rewards for good behavior, but not too many. This is one major difference for elementary school teachers compared to those who teach other grades. Older kids should not be rewarded for doing things they should be doing anyway. Younger kids need a little more positive reinforcement.
The same thing is true for elementary school teachers as it is for teachers of all grades--get a handle on your discipline plan and you can eliminate a lot of stress from your life. The effort and attention you give to it will be well worth it.
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