<< Hi all, I am a graduate student
in art education at The Ohio State
<< During spring quarter I am going
to a middle school. I'm a little
scared about handling discipline problems.
Any suggestions? >>
Renee, your cooperating teacher should
be a big help in setting the tone.
I completed half of my student teaching
in a middle school and my mentor made it
clear that his students were to behave
the same for me as they did when he
was in the room.
You're absolutely right, however, on
following through with what you say
If the students find that you're a
"softie" they'll respond accordingly.
I'm currently at a middle school as their
art teacher in a long-term position.
The sinks were a mess recently after
a tempera painting session. My students
know that I will let them out of class
a minute early - so they can get to lunch
immediately - if their areas are cleaned
up and paintings on the drying rack, etc.
I told the students - in a calm tone - that
they're a team and that since "they" couldn't
clean the brushes and sink properly,
that they could watch as I did it.
They still were able to leave at the
regularly scheduled end of class,
but that one minute must mean a lot to
them because at the end of the following
class the sinks were clean and the
brushes were all bristle-end up.
I am *not* a disciplinarian.
I am a softie, but I do have high
expectations of my students. I always
ask the students what they can do
to improve their artwork.
I don't criticize them unless they've
shown no deliberateness in their efforts.
They know if they've spent two minutes on
a painting and they know how I'll respond:
"How much time did you spend on this?"
I'm rambling, Renee, but just realize that
student teaching is certainly not the same
as having your own group of students
When there is no "real teacher" waiting
in the faculty room or sitting in the back
of the art room, you'll have the opportunity
to really get to know students's interests and
also get to know which students to watch
Know your lesson plan inside and out.
Don't let the students side-track
you or get you off your lesson plan with
questions - ask them to save their questions
until *after* the group instruction/lesson
intro has been completed.
Show them respect.
Have consequences for misbehavior,
(but don't react to "tiny infractions")
and - just as you mentioned in your post -
follow through on what you say.