On discipline

Most people seem to think that kids with special needs and behavior problems go hand in hand. While this is often true, it seems that these days, the vast majority of discipline issues I'm facing are not occurring in my own classroom, where the system has come together. It isn't the students on my caseload who are causing any of the major problems, with the occasional exception. I'm butting heads with everyone else--the gen ed kids in particular who seem to think that the novelty that I bring into their homeroom for up to two hours a day is beginning to wear off--and I simply don't have the management to control the rest of the kids yet.

I have figured out why the teacher of my most difficult class is so successful: he uses a very interactive call and response method in order to keep things moving and keep everything on board. But when he needs to, he is very intimidating and serious, and nobody would even consider messing with him. In short, he's got positive peer pressure on his side, combined with an imposing classroom presence--and presently, I have neither.

I'm not sure if I'm able to become the gruff, mean teacher that comes out when this guy takes care of discipline issues, but I will certainly be working the crowd today, appealing to the masses in order to squelch off-task behavior and keep things moving. I'll be letting my inner-populist politician come out.

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