Eliminating the Middle Man – the Myth of Giving Warnings


Okay, you’ve got about 25 students in your room. Someone told you when behavior issues arise, there should be a sequence of events that ensues, starting with a warning.

What warnings do is insure that all of your students know they can get away with certain behaviors at least once a class before any real consequence takes place. It’s like ONE FREE PASS for bad behavior.
So if each student wants to misbehave, that’s a good 25 warnings to start.

Of course, what usually happens, is that the student gets more than one warning–that’s a bonus pass.
Now if you go to second layer warnings–you know–the SERIOUS warning, you could be up to 50.

I understand these things from both ends. I was kind of a goof off when I was in school. If I knew the teacher was going to warn me every class, that meant I could do whatever I wanted until I got warned. Good behavior begins where consequences begin.

Listen–all of your students know what good behavior is already, right? If not, give them a lesson on what you expect. Then say, “Consider yourself warned.” So let’s cut out the middle man.

There is one time I find it effective to give students a warning, and that is the first day of class. Students are given a complete list of rules and procedures, and included in that list is the warning that there will be no warnings.

After that, if a student misbehaves, hit them directly with your consequence.

When students see your mouth open, not to say, “Jane, stop talking, this is a warning,” but “Jane, you are disrupting the class–come 15 minutes after school,” your behavior problems and your stress level will decrease simultaneously.

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