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Positive Discipline: 101
A Guide to Teaching the Hard-to-Reach Student

by Sid Winter ©2011, Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-935232-45-2, 82 pp
 

The purpose of this book is to show how relevant positive discipline, valid communication and stabilizing control can provide a meaningful learning experience in the classroom for both beginning and experienced teachers.

 

Rather then using a straight narration to express my point of view I have written this educational dialogue using a nontraditional play format to provide the necessary context to make the case that discipline can be a solution rather than a problem in most classrooms.

 

The techniques utilized include a unique combination of methodologies noted as “The Four Corner Method”, “Encircle and Cluster”, “Bread and Butter Lesson”, “Reading Aloud”, “Staccato Questioning”, and “Flattering The Troublemaker”.

 

I have developed in my over forty years of teaching a means to eliminate discipline problems in the classroom by minimizing distractions from potentially problematic students to enhance the learning experience of the class as a whole.

 

Note to Teachers

 

 

Teaching is one of the most wonderful and gratifying occupations. A teaching career can be an exhilarating experience with great altruistic fulfillments. In the main that job can have the potential to become a meaningful lifetime profession.

 

However, none of the accolades about teaching can ever come to fruition in any shape, manner or form if teachers cannot provide and establish the necessary control needed to discipline their classes.

 

A lack of discipline can make or break a teacher’s well-intentioned desire and positive outlook in situations occurring within low socio-economic environments, particularly in our underachieving American cities.

 

Moreover the approach of using fundamental positive discipline can be applied to any and all educational situations from elementary school to college teaching in both the private and public school sectors.

 

Without meaningful, positive discipline, learning in a classroom cannot take place. In its stead there will be chaos, instability, and ultimate failure on many levels for both teacher and students.

 

Gaining the confidence, trust, and respect from the students is an art unto itself. It should not be obtained with a rod in hand and an overwhelming dictatorial style, or by a teacher surrendering to the immediate need to be loved. Rather the teacher should be respected for their abilities.

 

Discipline should be achieved by intelligent observation and interpretation of the student’s behavior from the first moment teachers meet their classes.

 

I will demonstrate the nontraditional methodology I successfully developed in my over forty years of teaching in public, private and various secondary schools as well as teaching in college.

 

The classroom seating plan on the following pages is designed to provide teachers with a means to eliminate dicipline problems in the classroom by minimizing distractions from potentially problematic students and to enhance the learning experience of the class as a whole.

Note to Teachers........... 8

Seating Chart........... 10
Background........... 12

Act I, Scene 1................. 13
Interior: Clarence’s Apartment Evening

Act I, Scene 2................. 14
Interior: Clarence’s Apartment Evening – Two Weeks Later

Act I, Scene 3................. 19
Interior Clarence’s Classroom – One Month Later

Act I, Scene 4................. 21
Exterior Afternoon – After 3:00 p.m.

Act I, Scene 5................. 22
Interior: Mr. Silverman’s Classroom –  Afternoon After 3:00 p.m.

Act I, Scene 6................. 31
Interior: Clarence’s Apartment Evening

Act I, Scene 7................. 33
Interior:  Mr. Silverman’s Classroom – After 3:00 p.m.

Act I, Scene 8................. 41
Interior:  Mr. Halpern’s Office – Day

Act I, Scene 9................. 46
Interior: Mr. Silverman’s Classroom – After 3:00 p.m.

Act I, Scene 10................. 62
Interior: Mr. Silverman’s Classroom – The Next Day After 3:00 p.m.

Summary................. 73

BACKGROUND

 

Clarence Rivers is a male in his mid twenties embarking on a new career teaching social studies in a special service (underachieving) secondary school in the New York City school system.

He, like the students he now teaches, was brought up and educated in a poor inner city neighborhood school.

Being altruistic in outlook Clarence has a passion to give back to the underachieving urban youths an important opportunity to better themselves as he did from his own life experiences.

To achieve that reality he has worked hard to garner the necessary credentials, degrees, and secondary school teaching certificates to serve this purpose.

Clarence is flushed with energy and strength of purpose to bring forth and achieve this teaching goal as he meets the great overwhelming challenge from the moment he sets foot in his classroom on the first day of school.

He cannot wait to begin his personal crusade in this endeavor.

 

ACT I, SCENE 1

INTERIOR: CLARENCE’S APARTMENT, Evening

 

(CLARENCE comes home from his first day as a teacher in the
New York City School System.)

 

CLARENCE

(tired but happy, being descriptive)

 

He sits down, looks into the mirror, and talks to himself.

Not bad ... better than I thought it would be ... the kids (a lot of them, 33 in each of my five classes) seemed interested enough ... we were all like two boxers feeling each other out in the first round of a boxing match ... I’m sure that will change in a short while.

 

 

ACT I, SCENE 2

INT. , CLARENCE’S APARTMENT EVENING - two weeks later

 

CLARENCE

(now exhausted, and being inquisitive)

(Now sitting by the mirror once more talking to himself this time talking out loud)

 

Lets get real I have no school friends where I work.

 

(feeling unsure and lonely)

I was just wondering is it because I’m new to the school? ... I just feel all alone ... honestly even though we have a teachers’ room where the teachers hang out ... I mean when they’re off teaching or just there to eat lunch on their lunch hour.

 

Some do that ... other’s eat in the teachers’ cafeteria. So ... what’s my problem?

 

I don’t know ... I mean, I’m not yet comfortable enough to really approach anyone to have any kind of conversation ... I guess I need a friend ... somebody ... I’m lonely ... Maybe I should give it time ... that too will come ... it’s not like I have horns sticking out of my head ... we’re living in a time of acceptance.

 

(being realistically angry)

If this is the case at least I hope so ... if not, who needs these people?

 

It’s not that at all. What I mean to say is that they’re all pretty much cliquish ... they all sit at this long table eating lunch ... they all know each other and always seem to complain about the same things every day: the administration, the work load, the pay and most of all, the kids ... and how teaching sucks ... all except for this one guy.

 

I know that people love to complain ... to get things off their chests in order to feel better ... that’s nothing new ... but what about this one guy ... what’s his story?

 

(clearly thinking)

Lets see his name is Simon Silverman ... some of the teachers call him “Simon the Silent” or “The Mystery Man” because he says very little, minds his own business, eats his lunch in the teachers’ lounge, sits on the sofa away from everyone else, reads his New York Times and then curls up in a ball and goes to sleep ... and sleeps until the bell rings for the afternoon session to begin. He then suddenly gets up like a boxer and quickly walks to his classroom to teach. He says very little.

 

When I nod or say “good morning” he returns my greeting by nodding or saying “good morning” to me. Sometimes when he sees me first, he does the same.

 

Many say he’s one of the best teachers in the entire school ... he never has any discipline problems with the kids ...when I often pass his room the door is always open ... the kids are working ... there’s order and learning taking place ... it’s not like any other classroom in the school ... even the administration and the principal leave him alone.

 

He’s been at it for thirty-three years ... he’s a veteran.

 

 

(being factual and opinionated)

It seems to me like the cliques could learn something from this master teacher ... it seems to me that these teachers are probably quite jealous of him.

 

 

(now being realistic and quite angry, feeling rotten and yelling out loud to the mirror)

 

Who am I kidding? ... I’ve been beating around the bush ... I really feel like I’ve been crapping out teaching these kids ... I can’t seem to get to them ... they don’t listen ... I have no control over them in the classroom ... they call out ... they raise their hands for the wrong reasons ... like when I think they’re going to answer a question ... they answer with a question ... which is ... “can I go to the bathroom?” ... and when I say “no” they answer that by saying “you let John or Mary go before. Why not me now? You’re not fair.”  Then I have to defend myself and I realize that we are arguing over nothing.

 

That nothing being no learning, nothing going on but problems, one after another ... they don’t come with their books ... they don’t do their homework when I give it ... and as a result I feel like I am not getting any respect ... I feel as if I have failed ... that all this time, effort and energy for all the school years of work that I put in is all for nothing ... maybe, just maybe, Mr. Halpern, the assistant principal who heads the social studies department was right when he had to hire me. Then he went on to say the job was promised to a seasoned senior social studies teacher rather than to me, an inexperienced, incapable rookie teacher like myself. Maybe I should quit teaching, maybe it’s not for me.

 

(very upset, angry, and starting to cry; almost defeated)

I need help. Who can I talk too? Who can I ask?

 

 

(he looks at the mirror in a very despondent way)

Nobody ... everybody has their own problems ... forget the administration, they’re loaded down with paperwork that they feed all the teachers with ... my social studies chairman hates my guts ... there are cliques all over the building who are as negative as people can be ... they have their own problems and agendas ... it’s me, me and only me ... and it sucks ... for instance I was so mad one day that I slammed the entrance door to our room so hard after coming back into the classroom that the door’s glass windows fell out of the dried old wooden panes, shattering the broken glass everywhere.

 

 

Yeah! I got a moment of shocked silence from the class, but later I was charged for the door repairs and received a reprimand and lecture from the principal, stating that this was not the way to achieve discipline in the classroom ... I just don’t know what to do.

 

(taking a different tact now reassuring himself)

Clarence, settle down ... it’s only two weeks into the term ... isn’t there anyone in the school who can help me?

 

(Exhausted he falls asleep in his chair.)

"To reach the unreachable student is no longer the impossible dream."

 

"Brilliant in its simplicity."

 

"The nontraditional format of the book is unique, provocative, practical and educationally germane to learning how to teach teachers."

 

"I wish I had this book before I started teaching. It would have helped immeasureably."

 

"A commendable handbook for all educators."

 

"Addresses the reality of what really transpires in the interaction between teachers and their students."

Sid Winter was born and bred in the Bensonhurst Section of Brooklyn, New York City. He attended Lafayette High School and Brooklyn College where he earned his B.A. and M.A. in the field of History and Social Science.

 

Sid was a New York City Board of Education secondary school social studies teacher, chairman and dean for thirty-three years and taught at New York City Community College as an adjunct instructor and lecturer for twelve years before retiring.

 

Sid is still active teaching part-time in private and parochial schools in New Jersey for the past nine years.

 

As an author Sid has written “Vestiges of Memory,” a thirteen short story audiobiography, the plays, “Bocacabana and Shakespeare Too” and “Death Nesting,” and his first and second full-length screenplays entitled, “The Opportunist” and “My First Name is Mister.” He has had a very prolific and on-going productive life.

Positive Discipline: 101

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  • Positive Discipline: 101

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