Writing an A+ Philosophy of Discipline or Behaviour Management
School principals and others in authority want to know what your philosophy of discipline is; in other words, how you intend to deal with behavior management in your classroom. Whether you are a new teacher or one with experience, you can accomplish this by writing an excellent Philosophy of Discipline essay. It is imperative for every teacher to have a well thought out behavior management plan for classroom discipline before taking a teaching position. Just like every business needs a good business plan, a good Philosophy of Discipline will guide you through problems encountered while teaching.
The best behaviour management plans show that you have very carefully thought through the process that you will put into place in the classroom. You should be aware of the school policies and procedures to ensure that your management techniques fit well with them. For example, you should not put after-school detention into your plan if the school does not allow it. Your Philosophy of Discipline should cover not only how to deal with students, but also with parents and other administrators when discipline issues arise. This shows that you have carefully considered all aspects of the behavior management process.
While there are many different philosophies of behavior management, the most important aspect is to have a carefully planned and executable plan. It's easy for most people to teach under ideal circumstances; however, teaching is challenging, and this is where the best teachers excel. In your Philosophy, you should include your own ideas and expectations for managing the classroom. It is important to gear your philosophy to several levels of jobs; consider the primary, middle grade, junior high school, and high school levels. After all, you wouldn't treat children in first grade the same as those in upper grades. If you intend to teach only high school, then your philosophy should only address high school.
Your Philosophy of Discipline should reflect your own attitudes and teaching style. Include some specific examples of how you have or will apply your Philosophy of Discipline and how it has worked in the past to manage behaviour in the classroom. You might include examples related to students talking during a lesson, refusing to do their work, and fighting, as these are common disciplinary issues. If you don't have teaching experience, you should mention other examples in your life during which you have been able to successfully manage others (babysitting, perhaps?).
Make sure that your Discipline Philosophy is specific. After a few paragraphs about your beliefs and attitudes toward discipline and a list of your qualifications and experiences, include the following:
- Write the five basic rules that will apply to your classroom, and only five. Two of them should state, "Students will treat others kindly and not use physical force or call others names," and "Students will obey the teacher the first time they are asked to do something." (Notice these are broad rules and many infractions can be included within them.)
- List a consequence that will be applied when any rule is broken (e.g.; timeout, lose minutes of recess, or write sentences, etc.). Also, list another consequence for breaking any rule a second time in one day and a third consequence for breaking any rule a third time in one day.
- List the consequence (such as lose a recess, detention after school, call to parent, timeout in another classroom) that will be used when a student has broken the rules more than three times in one day.
- List how you will keep track of the students' behavior and how they will be rewarded; rewarding weekly is effective. If you are teaching grades K-3, begin the year rewarding students daily for good behavior and work up to giving a reward weekly.
- List what will occur when a student has committed a severe offense, such as fighting or vandalism. This is the time to send the student to the principal.
Proper classroom discipline requires many different abilities that are separate from teaching. These include patience, respect, good role modeling, a firm attitude, control of anger, and consistency. Maintaining a well-disciplined classroom often starts with your own attitude as a teacher. You can convey this attitude to administrators through your essay by giving them a well-rounded view of how you will discipline. If you haven't had much actual classroom experience, include in your resume some of the training or education that has taught you how to deal with children.
When writing your Philosophy of Discipline, you will want to be sure to explain how your philosophy includes students, parents, and administrators. Most principals understand that discipline is difficult, but they want to be sure that you have the capability to handle problems as they occur. Do not state that you will "send a child to the principal" for minor problems such as: talking, goofing off, throwing pencils, etc. Save that consequence for very serious problems, such as swearing, fighting, and verbal disrespect toward you. Remember that you will need to communicate with parents as well as school administrators. Be sure to state the reasons for which you will contact parents. Remember that your plan must fit with the school guidelines for disciplinary action.
A top-notch Philosophy of Discipline essay will convey your personal philosophy and abilities that will help you manage your classroom no matter what kind of situation occurs. It will make administrators feel that you have given the matter careful consideration and are ready to establish a well-disciplined classroom.