iNTERVIEW QUESTION: Discipline plan

Discussion in 'Job Hunting & Interviews' started by Mitzi, May 6, 2006.

  1. Mitzi

    Mitzi Rookie

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    May 6, 2006

    Recently, I had an interview and the Principal asked me to explain my discipline plan.
    I told her I have a Traffic Light on a pole. Everyone starts on Green. If someone breaks a rule, I have them move their clipclothespin, with a bee on it, to yellow And if they keep it up, they move their clothespin with the bee on it, to red.

    I told her I had a train on individual 1/2 sheets of flourescent paper,
    for each student with the caption "Keeping on Track" for behavior.
    The train is divided into days of the week cars. If they stay on Green all day, they get a stamp (smiley face, musheroom, tulip.....)
    in the appropriate car. At first, I said "for yellow --no stamp", then I said a stamp but no sticker (because I was getting rattled since I was getting the feeling that she wasn't even listening (body language),,:rolleyes: For red, I said a note on this train car. When students received 10 stickers, they could go to the treasure box.

    She proceeded to ask about behaviors. I mentioned a lot of my K's were chatty, or getting out of their seat too much; some cussed,
    would push, shove, or hit. I did add that I never had any kid that would throw a chair.

    How can I improve upon my response in future interviews?

    Thanks a bunch!!:thanks: ;) ;) ;)

    mitzi
     
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  3. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    May 6, 2006

    The following is taken from a school's interview form. It's the question followed by a reminder to the interviewer what to look for in the interviewee's response.

    5. Describe your classroom management beliefs. Include some examples of how you establish and facilitate those beliefs. How are those beliefs represented in your classroom? (firm and fair, having clear expectations, respectful, student participation in classroom protocols, self management by students, consistent consequences, handling classroom discipline at classroom level)

    Here are my thoughts on those. Discuss your routines that prevent behaviors. For example the kids know that when they come into the class in the morning they are to get to work on the morning papers already on their desks. Talk about your beginning of the year rule discussion and that the rules will be posted so that you can refer to them when necessary. One principal told me he wanted to know that I would bring only chronic or severe issues to him. He wanted to know I'd tried things in the classroom and worked with the parent on the issues.
     
  4. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    May 6, 2006

    Viola Swamp- thanks that was really helpful.. I know this is silly, but how would I be able to describe my discipline plan if I really have never implemented one.
     
  5. munchkin

    munchkin Cohort

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    May 6, 2006

    Iagree wit VS. Definitely stress a multiple step program where you prove that you've done everything you could do before you send them to the administration.
    Another key hot spot is positive reinforcement versus negative consequences. Less snacky foods for rewards, more verbal praise... or stuff like stickers, earning a pizza/icecream sundae, positive notes home, positive phone calls home etc..
    Tongue tied during an interview should be a requirement for being hired, I believe. Cause if you are then that shows enthusiasm and deep commitment and the abiliity to think outside the box.....:D
    Well, atleast that is my opinion....
     
  6. munchkin

    munchkin Cohort

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    May 6, 2006

    Fake it. Tell them you have observed and tried multiple methods andwould use the one that would work with that child at that moment. Everyone knows (might not admitit , but they know) not everything works on everyone or every time. gotta go with the flow. but have multiple tricks up your sleeve.:p
     
  7. Mitzi

    Mitzi Rookie

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    May 7, 2006

    Thanks a big bunch, Viola Swamp!
    With all the ideas now that are spinning in my head, thanks to your splendid advice, I'm starting to re-write my discipline plan.

    I'm sure, you've helped, not only me right now, but many others who are coming up for interviews!!

    mitzi
     
  8. Mitzi

    Mitzi Rookie

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    May 7, 2006

    Hi, munchkin!

    Thankful for your well worded response!!
    Actually I do most of the things you mentioned (stickers, incentive charts, ice cream treat, {I need to do a pizza party, like you suggested!}, positive notes home, positive phone calls to parents (They really do get SURPRISED, and sigh with relief!).

    I need to describe my multiple plan and tell , like you suggested,"gotta go with the flow and the situation of the moment">

    I rattle on way too much about my Traffic Light... well, it is sort of cute on a pole in a coffee can with large red apple contact paper, secured in plasterof paris....

    THANKS! LOTS FOR ME TO RE-FORMULATE MY ANSWER<
    ACCORDING TO YOUR GREAT GUIDELINES!!"

    mitzi
     
  9. melle

    melle Rookie

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    May 11, 2006

    While this is a creative idea, it will end up taking up a lot of class time in terms of enforcing and/or monitoring it, especially if you teach in a class with 20+ kids (the norm rather than the exception). For some, this could also seem a form of public humiliation. For the real troublemakers, this is not going to be a deterrent at all - they're going to "race" to see who can get the red light first.

    The best discipline is no discipline: let me explain.

    N-ever yell at the kids in front of the class. If you need to speak more than a sentence or two to them, step outside.
    O-pen your eyes. Teacher alterness is the best problem behavior deterrent.

    D-on't nag at or embarrass your students. They're like cats - they'll always come back for more because they know they have your number. They'll also hate your guts and deliberately misbehave in your class.
    I-nclude every student every day in every discussion/lesson. Don't let kids sit in the back and do their own thing/not participate - they'll get bored and find something else to do.
    S-ing and dance. Honest - if your kids are unruly, breaking into an Irish jog and singing a lively tune will get their attention. They'll make fun of you, but you have their attention - now, use it. Divert them back to the lesson.
    C-ue your kids. Let them know what's coming up. If they aren't interested in what you are doing now, maybe they'll behave knowing that arts and crafts or silent reading time or something they want is coming up and poor behavior might keep them from participating.
    I-nterest them! Keep their attention on you. They have been raised on television - you are the sitcom and the commercials, all rolled into one.
    P-lay fair. Model the behavior you expect them to have. If you want them in class ready to go on time, then you have to be in front of the class ready to go on time. If you're sitting down at your desk typing on the computer when they come in, they're going to take that opportunity for down time (me, I like the down time, so this is not my issue-but interrupting is, so I make sure I never do that.)
    L-ove your students, your subject, and your job. If you are having problems with this, evaluate why and seek appropriate avenues of alleviating your issues - talk to parents, talk to administrators, talk to other teachers, talk to your friends, go to counseling - whatever it takes. If you cannot get over your problem(s), you may want to reevaluate your position.
    I-f your students are talking at their seats or off-topic, move closer to them physically - maybe sit on a chair or the desk next to them. They are faaaar less likely to be off task if you are right there. I keep moving throughout the lesson, only at the board to write on it. (This is part of the "entertainment".
    N-o one wants to be bored. Laugh, smile, use your sense of humor, have a good time. Your students will be more into the class if you yourself are more into the class.
    E-xpect them to behave and be surprised and disappointed when they don't. Kids almost always rise to meet our expectations of them - if we expect them to be problem kids, they will. And DON'T listen to other teachers about your kids. They are yours and will behave or not dependent upon you. A kid who is a total jerk in someone else's class could well be your best student. Don't let teacher negativity or burnout affect your relationship with your kids.

    NO DISCIPLINE. It has worked for me for the past four years, and the six years during which I tried to be a strict, professional teacher adhering to all the rules and enforcing them to the letter SUCKED, both for me and for my students.

    Good luck!
     
  10. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    May 27, 2006

    I should have responded earlier but I just thought of this. You should describe the one used in your student teaching or in a classroom you've subbed in if you feel that it worked. I agree with what munckin said about trying different things.

    In most classrooms I've seen multiple forms of discipline. One teacher told me not everything works for every kid. Some are only motivated when it will affect them individually while others will only be motivated if it affects their friends.

    These are the management plans I used in a teacher's class while she was out on maternity leave. It was her system and I think it worked pretty well. At the individual level I used the green, yellow, red, and blue cards. Student starts on green and gets flipped to yellow as a warning, red for loss of recess (and independant worker badge--something they wore that had privileges) etc., the blue card added a call home. I used a point system for group and whole class discipline. I gave points to table groups who were on task, etc. When I decided to count the points up (random thing) I gave that group a popcorn party at snack time. Then I usually rearranged the groups. The class points were awarded when they got a perfect report from their specialists and when the entire class was on task.

    I don't use the group or whole class thing with my kindergartners right now. I think it would be too much. I do have tables that are ready or quiet line up first or get their supplie first, etc.
     
  11. swsmith63

    swsmith63 Rookie

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    May 27, 2006

    Behavior management questions in interviews

    I have had the best responses when I talk about the classroom environment...the amount of work, and the kinds of work that we do that keeps the kids busy and on-task. I like to keep discipline as simple as possible. Three rules, three consequences, all dealt with by me, unless violence or serious disruptions interfere with other students' learning. My first week of classes are geared towards teaching the students the meaning of respect...for self, for others, for things. We play out scenarios, talk about character, and I let the students make the consequences. (They should probably choose from a list...I had one student suggest doing the 'macarena' in front of the class as a consequence.) Anyway, when asked these questions in an interview, I mention the discipline plan, but I STRESS the positive behaviors that I try to motivate the students to achieve. I comment on using a 'bell-ringer' at the beginning of class, making and using a homework center, imagination station for those who get done early, a daily five journal for writing and thinking, and I focus on transitions between activities. These additions to your regular lesson plans will keep the kids busy enough to stay out of trouble and on task. If the process of discipline is hard for you to remember under any conditions, it is probably a little too complicated for the students to really grasp its benefit. I like the stop light--if it's the kind that changes when noise levels rise or fall. Personally, I think students need to feel they have earned their rewards with their grades, and their personal improvements.
    Again, focus on the positives that will be happening in your room, and be prepared to use consequences if you need them. I think potential employers will like to hear that you plan to keep the kids so busy that they won't have time to act up! Good luck:)
     
  12. swsmith63

    swsmith63 Rookie

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    May 27, 2006

    Never mention your students bad behaviors unless you have tried and true methods that have been effective.:)
     
  13. MissR

    MissR Comrade

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    May 27, 2006

    I agree. The principal is trying to imagine your classroom and get a feel of how you run things and handle issues. If you say something about issues you have with students be SURE to say how you successfully deal with them.

    I always start answering that question by saying what I do at the beginning of the year to establish a community environment with responsible students (I just say what I plan to do, as I have not taught elementary yet). Then I go into my philosophy a little bit: kids need to feel safe, if they are misbehaving it may be because their needs aren't being met... Then I give some specifics of what I do if there is a problem. I personally don't believe in reward/punishment focused strategies and rely more on discussing and problem solving, so mine is a little different. But, I advise not to talk too much about the details of the traffic light, just an overview. The principal is probably familiar with lots of different things very much like it, because it is what most teachers use. S/He just wants to know that you can handle a classroom with kids and the inevitable issues that arise.
     
  14. Froggie

    Froggie Rookie

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    :D This is exactly the thread I needed! I've been tripping up on this question in all my interviews, mainly because I wasn't quite sure what the principle would want to hear.

    For those who sit in on interviews/or have gone through multiple interviews, do you want to hear a long detailed explanation of my behavior management system? Or do interviewers prefer a short and sweet answer? Both (long winded and short-n-sweet) have pluses and minuses.
     
  15. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Jun 11, 2006

    Thanks for the great advice from everyone. I have TWO interviews tomorrow going to use most of the advice I got here today. I was at one interview last week and this was the VERY FIRST question out of the box. What kind of discipline plan are you going to use. I fumbled through the question with the Asst Principal glaring at me the rest of the interview. She of course is a staunch, keep them afraid of you type of principal. I didn't get the position but it's probably for the better. I would have hated telling the kids to be afraid of someone. This is something one of the teachers told me in the interview. They actually tell the kids "Here comes the Asst principal" you better behave or she is going to take you to the office. That to me is justplain bullying. What do you guys think?
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jun 11, 2006

    I have an interview tomorrow! I printed out a nice "classroom managment plan" to include in my portfolio. I did this so that the principal knows that classroom managment is something I have given great thought to - and so that in the interview I can reference the printout to somewhat guide me. I know I will be a nervous wreck! I certainly won't read from the paper, but you know what I mean...
     
  17. MissR

    MissR Comrade

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    txmom, I agree with you. I think that instilling fear in children is an inappropriate and ineffective way to discipline. Sure, it may get them to sit quietly or get back to work when the asst. principal comes, but what does it teach in the long run? Nothing good I'm sure.
     
  18. swsmith63

    swsmith63 Rookie

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    It seems to me that threatening children with the principal or asst. principal is like moms who say, "Wait til your father gets home!" It completely denegrates the teacher's own authority. And fear only lasts a short time anyway. Once the kids know what is behind door number one, they seldom worry about the consequences. As far as addressing classroom management in the interview, I think the principal wants to know that you can handle your own classroom. A teacher who constantly sends the kids to the office cannot possibly be an effective educator. Respect has to be given to the kids in order to get it back. When you interview, let the principal know that you are on top of it by having classroom expectations, consequences, and be strong enough to follow through. For a new teacher, I am happy to report that classroom management is not a bit issue for me. What I learned in student teaching is not to give them as many chances as possible. I follow up a broken rule with a consequence right from the get go. I'm fair, but firm. I have four rules--they are not difficult to adhere to--and when one rule is broken, the consequence is invoked. As a result, the kids know I mean business, and we get to work on the business of learning. Even as a sub, the kids know that I know the rules of the classroom, and I bring my own with me. Don't get me wrong, I have kids who want to test the system, but they only test it once. Plus, they know I really care about them, their education, and that I respect them. So I tend to get that back.
     
  19. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jun 19, 2006

    I have an interview tomorrow & I've copied & pasted all these responses on a Word document so I can read it all together. I'm sure the info here will help. Thanks guys!
     
  20. Froggie

    Froggie Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2006

    After using this stuff in my interviews, I started getting better responses from the principles (they actually smiled!;) ). The principles also seemed to like "preventative measures" or ensuring that you're going to try and prevent bad behavior before it starts as well as positive reinforcement.
    Timing in what you tell them is also very important. Usually I start talking about the routing I'd have with the kids, how we'd go about setting up classroom rules at the beginning of the year, moved to having consequences (but only briefly) and then ended with the positive reinforcement spin. That way I've left them thinking of me doing positive things with the kids.
     

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