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Improving Discipline in Schools

Narrative Essay
Audrey J Johnson
June 25, 2015

Creating and maintain a safe and orderly learning environment takes the efforts of all
stakeholders. Those stakeholders include teachers, parents, administrators, community members,
other school officials and students. Discipline in todays schools has increasingly become a
challenge for educators. One of the simplest of ways to improve the behavior of students is by
building and developing relationships with the students that are in their care five days a week.
The case of Ms. Robbins, a high school algebra teacher at Madison High School, located
in an urban area of Houston, Texas, is a good example of how relationships can impact behavior.
Ms. Robbins was new to Madison High School campus, but not new to teaching. Ms. Robbins is
meticulous when it comes to her lesson plans and following school rules and policies. Ms.
Robbins stands at her door when the students come in, but rarely addresses them unless they are
out of dress code or bringing food or drinks into her classroom. Students that arrive even a
minute after the tardy bell are locked out and must wait at the door until Ms. Robbins brings her
clipboard with the tardy log outside the room to sign so that they can enter the classroom one at a
time. The time the students wait outside the room for their turn to enter the room gives some
students time to engage in other activities in the hallways, such as visiting other classroom
windows to give the middle finger to any student that gives their attention to the window. When
the students come in she has her warm-up assignment on the board or screen projector along with
an agenda of the class activities for that day. Fifteen minutes into the ninety minute class period,

Ms. Robbins sits down at the projector to give a brief review of the warm up with minimal
demonstration of the problems. She quickly changes the overhead to her online textbook despite
the calls from students that they did not get to copy everything from the screen. You had
enough time to get it done and I hear a lot of talking. She says to the students. Ms. Robbins
attempts to begin the lesson for the day. The students always seem to be either on edge or
lethargic in Ms. Robbinss class. Some have their heads on the desk, watching videos or texting
on their cell phones, or doodling on the desk tops despite Ms. Robbins plea for them to put the
phones away and pay attention to her directives. As Ms. Robbins explains the process to
solving a linear equation, a student blurts out, I dont understand what you did! Mrs. Robbins
replied, Guys, I need you to stop talking and pay attention because some do want to learn.
Eww! This desk is nasty! Can I move? Shouts another student from across the room. This
classroom is always nasty! interjects a female student in the front row. No, you cannot move
and Im not responsible for cleaning up after you. The school is supposed to do that. Tell your
classmates to not write on the desk and to pick up their trash and put it in the garbage can. Ms.
Robbins replied. Can I go to the restroom or do you at least have some hand sanitizer so I can
clean my hands from this stuff on the desk? Another student quickly replies before Ms.
Robbins can answer. I dont know why you asked her that question. You know she dont have
any and shes not letting you go nowhere. You know she dont care about us. Unfortunately,
several other students chimed in their agreement.
The teacherstudent relationship is crucial to the guidance and development of students
in and outside of the classroom. A truly effective teacher must be able to show that they care for
the students that attend their classes five days a week. Simple warmth, acceptance, and support
should be delivered non-contingently and should not be conditional upon a students behavior.

Effective teachers strive to develop a positive relationship with every student in their classrooms,
and seek to promote positive relationships and a sense of community among the students
themselves (Bear, G., 2008). Our discipline efforts is due for a change. As educators that truly
care about our students, it is worthwhile to reworked the blueprint to incorporate more
counselors for kids who struggle and a priority put on stronger teacher-student relationships
something far beyond a consciousness-raising workshop (Mayo, J., 2015).

Bear, George, (2008). Discipline: Effective School Practices. Retrieved on June 16, 2015 from:
Mayo, Justin, (2015). Race Dramatically Skews Discipline, Even in Elementary School.
Retrieved on June 23, 2015 from: http://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/racedramatically-skews-discipline-even-in-elementary-school/