Monday, January 9, 2012

Reflections on WBT in a Middle School Classroom

The weeks preceding Christmas can be full of energy, excitement, and behavior problems in any middle school classroom.  As my class of 8th grade students came closer and closer to the coveted Christmas vacation, disrespect and lack of cooperation escalated.  In years past I might have raised my voice to reestablish control, sent kids to the office at the drop of a hat, or simply given up on certain students and ignored them.  As several students tried to test my mettle, I simply used the 5 classroom rules as my "behavior modification plan".  By holding up fingers to indicate what rule was being broken and hearing them recite the rule, using the scoreboard as a visual reminder of both good and not-so-good behavior, I felt totally in control of my class and confident in my ability to navigate this chaotic time of year with grace and a sense of mission.  No more agonizing over, "did I make the right decision?", in handling a discipline problem.  No more losing sleep or dreading waking up and having to face a group of hormone raging, Jekyll and Hyde personalities fondly known as teenagers.  WBT has brought peace and harmony to my teaching.  Sure, there are bumps in the road and tough days, but when I focus on following WBT,  it makes it much more manageable and I reap many more positives than negatives.  Teacher Nirvana gets closer and closer every day.  Enjoy the new year!

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