Discipline in the Classroom and at Home

Question: I am worried that there is not enough discipline in my son's sixth-grade class. What should I do to make sure that the teacher is providing the discipline that middle-school students require? - Concerned

Answer: First, how do you get your information? Does it come from actually visiting the classroom or from listening to your son and other parents? If you haven't done so already, you definitely need to visit the classroom to see what is happening.

Do not expect your son's classroom to be perfectly quiet. Instead, notice if the students respect the teacher and if the teacher exercises reasonable discipline. Without a comfortable disciplinary situation, the maximum amount of learning will not take place.

While the basic responsibility for good classroom discipline belongs to the teacher, remember that students take to school the attitudes and habits that they have been taught at home. Make sure your own son is acting appropriately. Many teachers are dealing with students who use rude language and are totally uncooperative and disrespectful.

Parents have a responsibility to teach discipline to their children. They can help their children achieve self-control by serving as good role models who follow rules, teaching them to respect adults and setting clear limits for behavior and consequences for breaking rules.

If you still have concerns after visiting the classroom and speaking to the teacher, you should talk to the principal. Some teachers need help learning how to establish discipline in their classrooms.

The topic of classroom discipline is one that your parent-teacher organization could address, especially if it is a school-wide problem. If a school behavior-management policy doesn't exist, it would be helpful to develop one. If there is a policy, the students need to be reminded about what appropriate school behavior is.