When creating a classroom management plan, be sure to include consequences that match the age, a rule was broken, and the personality of the students in the class. Some results may be posted on the rules poster, and others may be customized to the situation. Consequences for middle school students need to be fair, consistent, respectful, and a ‘teaching moment.’
Appropriate Consequences for a Student who Interrupts, Talks Out, or Talks to Other Students in Class
At the first offense, warn the student. It is important to use a soft, non-threatening tone to let the student know she is breaking the rules. Say something like, “It’s inappropriate to talk when I’m teaching. Please stop.” This will clearly let the student know she is breaking the rule, why it’s wrong, and what you want her to do. If she continues, give her a verbal warning, and explain that if she speaks out again, she will have a consequence.
Consequences for this offense can include being asked to step into the hall for a few minutes, serving an after school or lunch detention, or if you have a token economy system, a loss in points or stickers. If the student continues to break the rule, you should enforce the consequence without yelling or being disrespectful. Say something like, “You chose to continue to speak to your friend while I’m teaching, so you will need to make up this time in lunch detention.” You may want to bring the student into the hall to give her the consequence or bring her up to your desk to discuss this softly while the other students are working. It’s imperative not to embarrass or disrespect the student, as this will just prolong her misbehavior.
Consequences for Students who use Physical or Emotional Bullying Behaviors to Other Students
Most schools have very strict policies for a student who assaults another student. Be sure to follow these policies as soon as a student pushes, hits, or emotionally assaults another student. Usually, these policies include sending a student to the office or an instant detention, or even suspension. It’s important to follow through immediately with consequences for these offenses because if not, they can quickly escalate.
Consequences for Students Who Do Not Complete Homework or Cheat on a Test
At the beginning of the year, outline what will happen to a student’s grade if she does not finish her homework or misses an assignment. Explain that one zero on a homework takes ten perfect homework grades to erase. If a student misses one assignment, you may choose to give her one free pass. If she continues to miss assignments, contact the parents, set up a conference, and continue to show the student what missing these assignments is doing to her grade. Detentions may also work, but often, a student doesn’t complete her homework due to academic or social changes that are causing her trouble.
If a student chooses to cheat on a test, she should be aware of the consequences before the test begins. Appropriate consequences include receiving a zero on the assignment or having to retake the test after school and contacting the parent.
When disciplining middle school students, keep the consequences fair and consistent, Practice the rules at the beginning of the year, and ensure students know and understand the consequences. Always be respectful of the students, and try not to raise your voice or lose control. Use a soft voice and confident body language to control the classroom and the students will respect you.