Are you a "strict" teacher?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heavens54, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    What does that mean? Structured? You hold the kids accountable? You don't like monkey business? What is your idea of "strict"?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    OK, this word has way too much wiggle room. So I went to the Free Online Dictionary. (Sorry. I coached debate for 18 years. The first thing you do is define your terms. :) )



    strict (strkt)
    adj. strict·er, strict·est
    1. Precise; exact: a strict definition.
    2. Complete; absolute: strict loyalty.
    3. Kept within narrowly specific limits: a strict application of a law.
    4. Rigorous in the imposition of discipline: a strict parent.
    5. Exacting in enforcement, observance, or requirement: strict standards. See Synonyms at severe.
    6. Conforming completely to established rule, principle, or condition: a strict vegetarian.
    7. Botany Stiff, narrow, and upright.



    And I still don't know how to answer the question. I don't know that I have strict discipline. My kids are on time to my class, and the occasional one who isn't in uniform is corrected. We work bell to bell and we get a lot accomplished.

    But somewhere in that definition, at least in my mind, is the idea of an unyielding, unsmiling teacher, and that's absolutely not my class. We laugh a lot. I'm big on realizing that my kids have a life outside my class, and my policies reflect that.

    There's a lot of give an take in my classroom. It's been 2 weeks of school, and my kids already know that I'm mom to 3 kids, and that I'm a big Disney fan. They know that I joke about my lack of drawing ability, and that I'm not afraid to joke about the same issue in them. I kid a LOT about how "you used to be my favorite student, until this..." I'm big on partial credit, and I put cutesy stickers on my tests, though I constantly insist that "I don't do 'cutesy' "

    After Ally passed out in my class on Thursday I made a quick joke with the kids, and told them of how the same thing happened in my summer SAT class... how I apparently bore my students into comas and requested that they try to stay awake. We all laughed. Then we got right back to the problem I had been in the middle of when she passed out.

    Three kids told me yesterday that they wished they had me for class. Two of them had me last year, one is friends with a kid who has me this year.

    So I don't think I meet the stereotype of the mean, strict teacher. But discipline is pretty much assumed before they get into the room; it's most often a non-issue.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Yes, I am a strict teacher. I require my children to follow the Golden Rule in my classroom and there is no negotiation when they choose to be rude and disrespectful. They choose the behavior, they choose the consequences.
    However, the children who choose the proper behavior are rewarded with an easy going, relaxed, fun atmosphere in which to learn.
     
  5. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I don't consider myself strict in most of my classes. The one deviation from that is the 8th grade class. I am very no-nonsense with them because they are definitely of the "give an inch, take a mile" variety. Other than that class, I constantly joke around with my kids and discuss other things with them. We had a very interesting discussion yesterday about texting after I had them read a NY Times article about it. We definitely got off track a bit from the article but I learned a lot more about what they deal with outside of my classroom. We were discussing some of the problems texting can lead to and one of my students said his now ex-girlfriend just broke up with him via text message a couple days ago.

    My seniors are definitely different. That class is very loosely structured and is mostly up to them. We discuss a lot and I'll always start them off but inevitably they take over and discuss what they found interesting about whatever we read. I give them a lot of freedom and so far it's worked out okay. They know a lot about me and I know a lot about them.
     
  6. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I am considered the strictest teacher in my cluster of 3 teachers. I would say I am. I enforce rules constantly, I don't deal with nonsense, and I expect them to work from bell to bell. I also won't let them go back to their lockers or homeroom if they forgot their homework and I don't deal with them forgetting a pencil or their notebook.
     
  7. maya5250

    maya5250 Comrade

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    I am a strict teacher this year. It is so funny that other teachers on my team tells me that students say that I am mean. Or a better example- Students were asking my team leader why another student was in the room all day. He said that if you get team ISAP, you spend the day with the team leader. Some of them were saying- I want team ISAP. oh I would love to spend the day with you. Then he added- or you spend Team ISAP with Ms. Maya5250. They were not so happy about getting Team ISAP afterall. Last year, it was a different story- Kids walked all over me. It's much nicer this year.
     
  8. agsrule!

    agsrule! Companion

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    Two years ago I had a conversation with my rowdiest class about this. I made the comment, "I know you all think I'm mean, but we need to do...." Their chatter stopped and 3-4 told me they didn't think I was mean. Then another piped up and said I was strict. So, I said that I'm not strict, I just have high expectations. Everyone laughed and agreed that I always expect them to follow the rules, be respectful, listen & follow directions, have their supplies & work done, etc.

    I hold my students accountable to my high expectations that I know their 12-13 year old minds and bodies are capable of meeting. But we still have fun and laugh together, especially when we have "naked vocabulary".
     
  9. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    What is naked vocabulary?
     
  10. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I don't know. I mean, I enforce rules and give consequences, that is the only way to make it work. But, I allow talking during work time and I know other teachers who don't (like art class where the art teacher says there is no talking in art????!). My kids actually behave better with me than other teachers, and I think it's because while I enforce the rules and give consequences, I have a good relationship with them and allow lots of social aspects in their learning.
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I am consistent with my expectations and consequences, and I have basically the same routine in my classes every single day. I have high expectations for my students, and I'm not one to put up with "nonsense" in my classroom.

    I'm not, however, unwilling to adapt to meet specific needs of my students, and I am not one of those growling, hateful teachers who yells and fusses all the time.
     
  12. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Ima, you posted exactly what I was thinking. I'm consistent. I don't think that makes me strict.
     
  13. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    You bring a very good point. While it is very important to enforce rules and give consequences, it is also important to have a good relationship with students.
     
  14. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I am and am not. My kids are among the best behaved as a class. I lay out my expectations clearly. For example, before our first all school assembly, I took them in and we "practiced" good assembly behavior. It was clear to me that other classes had not even talked expectations beforehand.

    I do allow my kids to talk during most work times, and they get to play games when they finish their work.

    We have a lot of fun, but I expect listening, learning and lots of hard work.
     
  15. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Structured
    Teaching always
    Rigorously abiding by the rules
    In love with my class
    Considerate of them as people
    Educating them in a fun, joyful!, happy way


    So if that's strict, I am.
    I just had a change of positions and students who had been anticipating my grade and their parents have expressed sorrow and disappointment that I am not in their educational radar. (That compliment goes to what my classes in the past have learned and expressed, not to me as an individual teacher. I have been blessed to facilitate students who love to learn, to think, to grow and who have learned that structure allows more time for fun.) I don't think of myself as this wonderful teacher. I just know that if you work hard, show love, act consistently, and laugh and play with your students you get a tremendous amount of happy results.


    If strict is mean, vindictive, grouchy, never smiling, and petty, well, that's not me.
     
  16. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    I am strict.

    But my class is extremely challenging and it's hard to make an A.

    As a result, students are usually focused and organized because they want to succeed. So I mostly encourage them to think and work and they are so busy doing that behavior is a lesser worry.

    I also give them a lot of freedom of thought and deed. In exchange, I expect them to treat class time as precious. I love my job because they make it a pleasure.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    My kids would say I'm not strict...but I have excellent classroom mgt, lessons are organized and structured, time on task is optimized. Kids are engaged in their learning in my room, we actually have fun and most days fly by...but students know I mean business!;)
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I'm finding that I'm having to be a lot more strict this year than last year, since I got a lot of "behavior problem students" in my groups this year where as last year I had almost none. By "strict" I mean I have very clear expectations and I follow through with them. Last year I could give many students a bit more freedom, this year I feel that with a lot of my groups I can't do that. I don't ever yell at students though- that's just not my style. I may use a "firm voice" with them, but it's never raised. In general, how "strict" I am with a particular group depends on how well behaved that group is in general. Some groups are allowed to choose partners to work with, or spread out and work wherever they'd like around the room (including taking a clipboard and sitting on the carpet or by the pillows). With one of my groups in particular, I find they can't handle even that little bit of freedom- I literally have to place them all at a particular table to do any assignment, usually by themselves.
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I consider myself to be a strict teacher. My behavior expectations are high. But I also love to enjoy my day and I want students to enjoy their day...thus the high expectations. It's difficult to enjoy learning when one student is constantly interrupting, the room is left a mess, and people are rude to one another.
     
  20. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    My students called me "Sarge", but they whined when class rosters came out and they got the other math teacher.

    My father recently hired a few of my old students to do maintenance work on his rental properties. They told him that I was the only teacher in the whole school who they were afraid of, and then turned around and told him my class was fun (though a lot of work) and that I was the only teacher they remember actually *liking* them.

    I expected my students to meet certain expectations, both academically and behaviorally, and they met them. I suppose that made me strict, but I never thought of myself that way.
     
  21. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    I am consistent and structured. I have fun and joke around, but my kids know when it's time to stop and get to work. I don't like chaos and noise, but we do work in small groups or with partners a lot. I am very clear about my expectations and consistent with praise and criticism.
     
  22. agsrule!

    agsrule! Companion

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    "Naked Vocabulary" is what I call the first day of vocabulary for the school year. Our voc. list is Greek root words. The first word on our 7th grade list is gymno which means naked. The kids love it.
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Did you mean this for a different thread?:confused:
     
  24. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Nope. It was mentioned in the reply to this thread, and someone else asked what it was. Not on topic, but it was in the thread.
     
  25. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    I asked earlier in the thread. I've never heard the expression...good to know what it is. Thanks.
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Missed that one, thanks.
     
  27. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    First year teacher here. I am learning to be strict-ish. I have found it is a very fine line between treating kids like humans (which a lot of my colleagues don't) but also realizing they will take advantage of your kindness. I'm learning more everyday but I feel ok with where I am right now and expect it to be even better this time next year :)
     
  28. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I think I have a reputation for being strict, but that just means I expect every student in my room to perform to the best of their ability. We have a lot of fun, but there are clear expectations and I follow through consistently with consequences. My lessons are very structured and there are predictable routines in place so that my students could run the room on their own!
     
  29. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Hmmm....I had a student tell me last week "You're a hard a$$, but it works." I have structure and routine for my students along with high expectations. I guess if that makes me strict, ok then. But, I also know I am flexible when I need to be.
     
  30. Mister Teacher

    Mister Teacher Companion

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    I'm definitely one of the strict 3rd grade teachers. I like to laugh with the kids and make jokes, at times, but I enforce consequences where many others do not. Some classes come running down the hall pell mell, talking loudly, pushing, and the teacher says nothing. My kids walk quietly, in a straight line, and if they don't, I say something.
    It can be hard when there is such inconsistency.
     
  31. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

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    I'm extremely strict. I have to be with 33 5th graders! I'm strict in regards of expectations and routines. I will not teach if there is talking or off-task behavior. I make them make up any wasted time.
     
  32. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yep, I agree!
     
  33. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I consider myself firm yet calm and compassionate.

    With a room full of middle schoolers, you've gotta be pretty firm!
     
  34. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    YTG, how do you remain calm with a room full of middle schoolers? I need some tips...
     
  35. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    1. I never yell. Ever. Period.
    2. Here's what I do to get the kids' attention: I do some sort of rhythmic clapping/snapping/stomping pattern. For example, I'll clap four times, snap three times, and stomp twice. The kids repeat the same pattern. When they're done repeating what I've done, they know it's time to wait and listen for directions. Occasionally, kids are still talking when they're done with the rhythmic pattern. In that case, I start whispering my directions/instructions to the class. As soon as I start whispering, the talkers stop talking and you can literally hear a pin drop in my class because they don't want to miss out on any important information.
    3. Sometimes, I'll have kids who're playing with a pencil, pen, or other device. Instead of using my voice to tell them to stop playing, I simply walk to their desk, take whatever item they're messing with, and put it in my pocket. I have a boy who likes to pound his hands on the desk (as though he's playing the congas). I'll simply go to his desk (while I'm still talking and teaching the rest of the class) and put my hand on his shoulder to let him know that he needs to stop.
    4. Another thing that helps is making sure to circulate around the room while I'm teaching. With 34 sixth graders in a room, a lot can happen when I'm not looking. If they know I'm constantly walking around, they know they don't have a lot of chances to get themselves into mischief.
    5. Instead of "calling out" a student in front of the class for making poor choices, I'll say, "(Student Name), please meet me outside!" At that time, I'll talk to them about the choices they're making and I let them know how disappointed I am with the things they're doing and how I know what a great kid he/she is. I try to keep things positive while letting them know that their choices aren't acceptable and that if they continue, they're making the choice to send themselves to the office with a referral.

    I hope some of this is helpful. It worked with me when I taught 2nd grade and it has continued to work with my middle schoolers.
     
  36. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Without reading all the responses (because I'm studying), what I'm learning about this word is while it does have a dictionary definition, the connotation each has of this word is individual. I can see both negative and positive connotations associated with this work in the responses I have read thus far.

    Basically put, I believe in being consistent. I believe if you work on the rules and procedures early and nip it in the bud early, then you have a much more successful year in the long run. This doesn't mean I'm not consistent or the same throughout the year. It simply means the need to have to teach and reinforce these concepts diminish after the students both learn what is expected and know that I consistently reinforce it. (I teach lower elementary so that plays a part in the idea of needing to consistently teach and reteach rules and procedures since students haven't yet fully developed these internally). I also don't think that means I'm never flexible nor does it mean I'm a grouch. I believe in positive reinforcement and the love and logic approach to consequences. I believe in being proactive and realizing that how I structure things is at least half the solution to solving any issues that are occurring in the classroom. How I handle transitions, for example, affects how the class responds. Part of being proactive means I have to also be reflective and realize that there are both group dynamics and individual dynamics at play and that requires flexibility on my part to restructure things that are not working. So consistency does not always mean that things don't change. My basic expectations stay the same but my approach to it may change.

    I associate being strict with high expectations, structure and consistency. I do understand the negative connotations with the word such as inflexible, grouchy and critical. I have used those negative connotations when the need arose. Initially, however, when the question was posed (in a different way in another thread), that was not my first connotation of the word. After two threads of this, I think it is more beneficial to share my philosophy than to adhere a single word that obviously has many connotations. So while my behavior management ideas stay the same, I've decided this word is too messy to use in any way that is accurately descriptive.
     
  37. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I don't know if I'm a strict teacher. I try my best to be firm and consistent, yet flexible and compassionate. I know there are a lot of other teachers who are way more strict than I am.
     

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