Keila's Blog

Sunday, June 26, 2005

My Reaction

Gary Rubenstein’s book “Reluctant Disciplinarian” is 141 pages of a fun read and gave some nice tips to teachers, especially if you are new, but I don’t think it will transform my way of teaching or my life

The Pros about the book was that they were entertaining, insightful, and left leeway for other viewpoints. Some of the Cons that I saw were that it was based on one teacher’s experience and was sometimes contradictory. Rubenstein tells us his own history of becoming a teacher, which was more by accident than planned, and this may have contributed to his initial difficulties in his classroom. He describes himself as a "Softy," who has had discipline issues since childhood. Both of these are directly opposite of what I want my approach to teaching and discipline to be.

I want to think of myself as an enthusiastic disciplinarian—but I do need some more pointers. There are four chapters that I found most entertaining as a future teacher: What Does NOT Work: stories about his own mistakes, things that you swear you'd never do, but once in front of a class, you end up doing anyway. Like yelling. And if you lose control once with a group of students, they're gonna try to break you again. Fun times for all. Rubinstein also includes many of the "tried and true" methods, like incremental consequences (school policy) and writing names on the board. He gives reasons and examples from his own life about what doesn't work--and some of them were his own errors, where some are errors in methods. Being a Real Teacher: Rubinstein gives a series of rules about what "real teachers" do...most of which I agree with. Things like "Real Teachers dress the part"...meaning they should be wearing slacks and a tie, not shorts and sandals. Things like "Real Teachers have a Rules Talk" at the beginning of the school year. A lot of these basic guidelines for teachers have loosened over the last 20 years...and many districts are tightening them up again. What DOES Work: He gives us a list of things that "DO work"...for him. Some of these seem to overlap with the "Don't" list, and some of them depend greatly on his personality and the students he has. But it's a good list. Things like "Master the Teacher Look" and "Start with Traditional Methods" are essential, and "Seek Advice" is essential.

Developing a Teacher Persona: this may be my favorite part of the book, since this is an area where I feel I want to become successful in with my students. I want to have a series person and even have a informational day every Friday- like talk about black history, talk about colleges and why education is important.Again, The Reluctant Disciplinarian was an entertaining and helpful read. I would recommend the book to young and old teachers.


  • At 8:40 PM, Blogger Ben Guest said…

    I like your idea of being an "enthusiastic disciplinarian." That is a good way to look at it.


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