My Favorite Part Of Teaching

Is making the kids write lines. Not really. But it is fun.

You can hit them with the standards: “I will be quiet in class” fifty times, or “I will remain in my seat” twenty five times. Or make it more tedious, like copying the definition – all five versions – of “quiet” fifteen times. Humor is good, like making a child who complains about the quality of the teacher write “Mr [Teacher] is awesome.”  When they give you that infuriating “I dunno” look and shrug as you ask them a question, you can reinforce the need to pay attention in class by making them write the answer. E.g., Writing twenty times “The Articles of Confederation did not create an executive branch.” A similar approach works when you call on a student to read and the student has been daydreaming and thus does not know where to begin: Copy that line twenty times. One of my favorite uses is when a student asks to go to the bathroom. I tell them they can go, but only after they’ve written “I will use the restroom between classes” twenty five times. Nine and a half times out of ten, the student refuses, and I therefore know that the need was feigned.

In addition to its adaptability and effectiveness, a major benefit is that writing lines keeps the child in class. I hate sending kids to the office. The kid will miss the remaining instruction time. I look like I can’t control my kids. And the “discipline” they will receive is usually to either sit and stare at the wall for the rest of the period, or else run errands for the administration. Writing lines, on the other hand, is truly unpleasant plus the kid remains in the class and can continue his work as soon as the lines are done.

Old fashioned it may be, but writing lines is the most adaptive and effective disciplinary tool I know. If the child is being disruptive, it shuts them up while they’re working and reminds them of the rules. Meanwhile, the unpleasant nature of the task is a disincentive to future misbehavior. You can use it for any situation. So how about fifty times for “Writing lines is great.”

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