Thinking about Discipline – Part 3

In my first two posts in this series on Discipline, I mentioned some of the proactive steps which I believe we ought to take in order to avoid creating a classroom atmosphere which may encourage undisciplined behaviours.

morgueFile free photo

In this post, the third post in this series on Discipline, I would like to mention a few points about teacher traits which may cause students not to be the angels we would like them to be!

But first a little bit about me as a student

In primary school, I was one of the naughtiest pupils; my teacher often told my mother that she had to watch where I was or which way I was catapulting about during recess, in case our paths crossed, for fear I would raze her down !!!

From BGW 2 by Marisa Constantinides

In high school, I was even worse. I was known to be so unruly (together with my best friend who was just as unruly as I was) that for the last 4 years, our desk was placed on the side of the classroom, separately from all the other desks in the class (a traditional class with rows of heavy desks) so that all the teachers could keep an eye on us.

This did not help much because we found numerous highly creative ways of spending our time, inventing secret codes, drawing wonderful caricatures of all the teachers, writing our own silly poetry, reinventing language in the way teenagers do and living in a secret world of our own in which teachers trespassed only on very rare occasions, i.e. when something caught our interest – which was not very often.

But when this did happen, we were both models of good behaviour and two teachers stand out in all these years, which, thinking back to my school years, is really just not good enough!!!

All the rest of the sorry educators I had to suffer through displayed a number of traits which I would call….

Classic Mistakes made by my Teachers  

  • They lectured
  • They screamed and shouted
  • They punished unfairly and harshly
  • They humiliated students publicly
  • They insisted on having the last word
  • Their body language was negative
  • They used violence
  • They never praised anyone but the top students
  • They had irritating quirks, like keys jangling in pockets, scratching in strange places, odd gestures etc
  • They never moved from behind their desks
  • They droned!
  • They had really boring voices!
  • They recited the book and made no other effort to animate the content
  • They made sarcastic remarks if you made a mistake
  • They ridiculed weaker students
  • They had favourites
  • They were unfair
  • They sulked and were unforgiving
  • They made irrelevant comments
  • They accused anyone or everyone
  • They were vindictive
  • They often lost control of their class
  • They were not always well prepared
  • They could be easily confused by student questions
  • They made weaker students feel stupid or inferior

So you see, I am something of an expert in what causes students to be naughty! :-)

There were other things, too, which made us misbehave

  • A teacher who dressed very sloppily
  • A teacher who was personally not clean or whose clothes were dirty or stained
  • A teacher who had unpleasant personal habits, such as picking his nose, or, in the case of some male teachers, adjusting their, well, hmm… jewels :-)
  • A teacher who was known to be unfair only to hit the parents for private tutoring time
  • A teacher who smelled really musty!!!
Etc. etc.
Students are ready to jump at every opportunity like this, especially if some of the other behaviour traits are in evidence, causing them to be bored, anxious, fearful, or feel unfairly treated.

 Here is a great video I found on You Tube – it was made in 1947 and it’s great to see how it repeats much of what I said above!


How many of those mistakes have you made in your teaching career?

What were the results?

Do you have any stories to tell, stories which made you realize that you needed to change your tactics?

If you do, please share them in the comments.

Your Task

Turn all the classic mistakes into positive teacher behaviours!


Related Blog Posts



Free Subscription to this blog

If you liked this article, please share it and subscribe to receive regular updates to this blog either by leaving your email in the appropriate box or by subscribing to my RSS feed here