Being consistent -- when you're not sure how

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pisces_Fish, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Everyone is always saying "be consistent" when giving advice to new teachers. I feel kind of embarrassed admitting this, but what if I'm not sure how? In other words, what if I decide my homework policy needs to be totally re-vamped? What if my behavior plan flops during the first week and I need to change it? How can we "be consistent" from Day One, when we're still learning, too? Am I making sense? :eek:
     
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  3. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    I think consistant means that you treat each situation and student in an equitable manner. If Johnny breaks a classroom rule today and again tomorrow, the consequences will be the same. Or, If Johnny and Sally are both general ed students and both break the same rule then they will be subject to the same consequence. Sp Ed students may have an reason for receiving a different consequence. That is something to check out with your Sp Ed dept.

    I see nothing wrong with changing procedures or rules if you find they are ineffective, just be consistant in their administration.
     
  4. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    I am interested in reading the replies to this. I too struggle with consistency because I also feel like I am constantly revamping things and rethinking etc. Ugh. You make absolute sense and I totally know where you are coming from.
     
  5. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    If you chance your rules or ideas, be really honest and open with your kids. They will probably have noticed that it wasn't working, too. Ask them why they think it didn't work, and see what they think of your new idea. That way they are in on the process and don't see it as you just changing your mind-they see the reasons behind the change.
     
  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Consistency means following through with what you say you are going to do every time. If Johnny gets in trouble for shouting out, then Sally should too, if she shouts out. There's nothing wrong with changing procedures/policies. Simply tell the students you thought it over, decided it wasn't working, so now you're going to to xyz. I would however, wait longer than a week before making any changes (unless it's a drastic situation). Oftentimes kids will try to see how much they can get away with (especially if they know you are a new teacher). If you have low homework completion the first week, follow through with your policy, if it continues for a few more weeks, then you might investigate and see if something needs tweaking.
     
  7. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    It's so good to hear that. I've been wanting to ask this question for so long, but like I said, I was embarrassed.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree with what the others have said; being consistent means that you follow through in the same way with every student every time. If Alex and Lauren both do the same thing, they should receive the same consequence--Alex shouldn't get off easier because he's quiet and nice and generally a good kid. It also means that you need to do what you say you will. If you have told Sam that he needs to stay in for recess, keep him in. If you tell Angie that you are going to call her mother at lunch time, be sure you call.
     
  9. lysithea88

    lysithea88 Rookie

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    Also, don't consider it flip-flopping if you decide to change a policy. I was always taught in my teacher education program to constantly reflect on what my objectives are and how well I achieved them. If something doesn't work, it's good to try something else. It's very good to stay flexible. Remember, too, that just because something does work with one group does not mean it's going to work with another group. You need to work with the situation you're currently dealing with.
     
  10. emmakate218

    emmakate218 Connoisseur

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    In a RTI training session I took part in during my student teaching, I was told that research shows that it takes atleast six weeks for a behavior system to get off on its feet, so to speak. So, if it's only been one week or two weeks, give it more time.
     
  11. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    There is no such thing as sort of consistent or consistent most of the time. You either are or you are not. Whatever you do - homework policy, behavior plan - do not make any plan or rule you are not prepared to enforce each and every time it is broken. If you do your kids will learn their first lesson about your rules -- they are just hot air. Example: If you have a rule regarding kids raising hands before speaking, have taught it, modeled, practiced, reviewed are you prepared to terminate instruction any time to reteach rule each time it is broken? If not then don't make this one of your rules.

    And don't think this is any small deal, a piece of cake as you are right in the middle of a lively discussion and one of your best students blurts out a comment and one voice in your head says, "Go on. You don't really want to interrupt the flow, do you?" while another voice competes with, "Uh-uh. If you let this slide the dominoes begin to fall and little problems turn into big problems."
     
  12. love_reading

    love_reading Comrade

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    You make total sense! What you are describing is being flexible. If something doesn't work for your class, of course you're not going to do it all year. I think what you have to be consistent about is following through with consequences, rewards, routines, and procedures. If you say you will give one warning before a consequence, don't give one warning today and three tomorrow (for example). Don't just try something for one week and label it as flopping. Be consistent with it for at least 2 weeks before throwing it out. You're students need to know that when you say something, you mean it. They need to know boundaries. Don't worry, once you start teaching you will understand. :up:
     
  13. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    There may be times when you want to let things slide-don't.
     
  14. SciTeacherNY

    SciTeacherNY Companion

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    ITA. I think it really means treating each similar situation in a similar manner. If Johnny has out his phone and is texting his friends and you take it away, you must do the same if Sally takes hers out. My first year teaching, this was my major problem. One day I would let something go and then the next day, I would enforce the rule.
     
  15. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Oh you are not alone!! I always start the year sooo strong and then somehow things fall apart and I'm thinking it's all about the consistency thing! Thank you for posting this question...:)
     
  16. kstar03

    kstar03 Companion

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    This is a very helpful post! I know I need help on this subject too!!!!
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree with this!

    The word "consistent" comes from the Latin word consistere, meaning "to stand still." I think that being consistent means that you stand firm in whatever you believe, and that you don't move from one side to another very much.

    An example I can share has to do with tardies. When students enter my classroom after the bell has rung and aren't able to produce a valid pass, they are marked tardy. Period. There is no discussion about it, and the students know that. I don't care what the excuse or explanation is because ultimately it's the student's responsibility to get to class on time. If it's a one-time, freak occurrence, the student shouldn't worry because they won't be disciplined until the 2nd tardy. If it's habitual, then they need to understand that they must meet certain minimal expectations in order to be successful students.

    I've known teachers who haven't been very successful at teaching or classroom management. In almost every case, their problem was that they weren't consistent. One day they'd write up Max for chewing gum, but the next day they'd ignore it. Or one day they'd decide to come down hard on students who forgot to bring their textbooks, even though they hadn't said a word to forgetful students for the past three weeks. Kids get confused and frustrated, and that doesn't make them want to learn.

    There will be times where you might decide to bend your own rule, however, and that's okay (in my opinion). For example, let's say that you have a "no late work" policy, but you have a student who has spent the evening at the hospital with her little sister and wasn't able to finish the assignment on time. You might choose to allow that student one or two days to make up the assignment. Frankly, that seems like the right thing to do, at least to me. I think the key is to let the student know that while you don't usually let people make up assignments, you see that this is a special circumstance and that the student should take advantage of this opportunity because this will probably be the only one she gets.

    Remember that treating people fairly doesn't always mean treating them equally. What one person needs to succeed isn't necessarily what another person needs. I think that a big part of being consistent is being able to recognize that and being willing to apply that standard or belief to everyone. If you're going to adjust your policy for one student in crisis, you should be willing to adjust it for any other student in a similar situation.
     

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