Disciplining by Discipling

Written by Ryan Evans on November 19th, 2015

We’ve seen in the news recently that classroom discipline is lacking in many schools.  Often schools let students get away with unthinkable acts in the classroom, as we saw recently when one student beat up a teacher and another student refused to leave her desk until forcibly removed by a police officer.  Classroom management is often one of the most difficult things for a classroom teacher, but we believe at Providence that classroom discipline is both essential and achievable.  We know that the question of discipline often arises when parents are considering enrolling their child at a new school.  Our expectations for classroom behavior at Providence are high, and when parents see this in action, they often conclude that these high expectations are just one more good reason to be at Providence.

“Discipline” contains the same root as the word “disciple” – both are derived from the Latin word for “student, learner” – and can be defined as “training or developing by instruction, especially in self-control.”

It is important to maintain a classroom environment that is conducive to learning, and this is accomplished by discipling our students: teaching clear classroom behavior expectations at the beginning of the year, and ensuring that students understand what is expected of them and why.  In the first few weeks of school, many verbal reminders are given to help the students establish a solid understanding of classroom expectations and consequences, and to help them create habits that will serve them well as they learn throughout the year.  Most classroom discipline occurs in a positive sense. The teacher often may simply walk by a student’s desk and place a hand on his or her shoulder as a reminder to correct an inappropriate behavior.  For the student who needs more definite guidance, a graduated system of discipline (teaching) occurs.  Before reaching the point of an office visit, the teacher will talk with the misbehaving child privately and give him or her the opportunity to correct the behavior.  Prayer and restoration of fellowship is accomplished during the conversation and the student joyfully returns to the classroom.  When an office visit is necessary, the principal explores the situation using God’s word and questions that are designed to guide the student into a greater understanding of his or her own heart’s condition.  The student is lovingly led to seek restoration of fellowship with the Lord and his or her teacher. Restoration of fellowship through confession and prayer is a beautiful process that enables the student to feel truly forgiven.

The truth is, we are all sinners, and we all fall, but God is merciful to those who call on His name! Heb.12:11 states, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  This righteousness of the heart and peace with God and with others is the goal we are seeking together with our students.