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Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 12 2012

Well Behaved vs. Self-Disciplined.

One day when my students thought it was time for me to be a preacher instead of a teacher, I went through a long spiel that centered around being well behaved vs. self-disciplined. The look in my students’ eyes when I explained it confirmed that they had no idea there was even a difference. Truthfully, I didn’t expect them to hold onto this theme. And now, it is what runs our classroom. Everything we do, transition, go to support, walk in the hallways, go outside for an impromptu fire drill, it is always followed by, “Are we just being well behaved or are we self-disciplined?” My students are well behaved with me, but the second they leave my presence they lose it. They need to understand the importance of being self-disciplined and why the consequences of just being well behaved are so high. There have been moments where I think they are getting it. Then days like today happen where I’m reminded how long something like this will take to be learned.

I was not in the classroom today for a day of training, which means it was my first time this year my students had a substitute. To say it was a train wreck for them, is an understatement to say the least.

As eager as these kids are to learn, as quickly as I have been able to form relationships with them, as much as they have had some of the most amazing moments I’ve experienced as a teacher in two years, today was a reminder of how much further we have to go.

It’s September. The long stretch between now and Black October pretty much has commenced. I like to think of it as the two month grind, as opposed to the daily grind.

Everything after these two are cake. I think.

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