Mistakes teachers make the first weeks of school … part 4

… that may result in behaviour issues throughout all the school year.

Here is part 3 of the most common mistakes teachers make during the first weeks of school. If you want to check out part 1  please click here!    

4. Not following through
This one is a biggie!! As I said before, one of the other reasons why behaviour systems don’t work is because we as teachers don’t follow through with them. Who doesn’t know the situation: “Stop doing that or I’ll count to 3.
OOonneee … .twoooo …” and if we are lucky, the child stopped doing their behaviour, but what if not? What actually happens after 3?

And how often have we been in the situation when we warned someone about their behaviour and said: “Next time, I’ll call your parents” (or you will move down the chart, or you will get a red point …), and yet we never did? (Back to Point 1, being too nice and worrying that we won’t be liked by our students?).

We may feel bad for sticking with the consequences, but what are we actually teaching them if we don’t? We teach them that what we say has no value. So why should they take anything serious what we say or do?
And how do you teach the kids that you are not kidding?

Especially in the first weeks, you don’t let the little things go. Sometimes you think, one kid talking here or one kid blurting out answers there or one kid standing up are not a big deal and you let them go.
But the thing is, you are missing to set your boundaries and the little things add up to more things and more things and by the time you actually realize what’s going on, they became a real problem and it’s too late. You better defeat the monster when it’s little 😉

When you take care of the small problems right from the start you don’t even let them become big and you send a message to your class that you mean what you say, so they won’t even try to push the boundaries with bigger things.
Don’t forget that kids need boundaries. And the only one who can set them in the classroom is you – not the children. You can’t just sit there and sweat the small stuff, because “they are just kids and they will figure it out”. How are they going to figure it out, if nobody shows them? They don’t have any life experience to know what they should or
shouldn’t do.

Once you’ve shown them the boundaries and they understood that things matter, you can start to be less strict. Let’s say during the second half of the year it’s less of a problem to become less strict.
But especially during the first weeks of school, it is your responsibility to set the expectations and follow through.