Thus, the teacher was a “powerful” figure in the eyes of the students and could easily influence the student’s
behavior, often with just a look, smile, or a threat.(Canter,3)
teacher’s basic techniques of influence, or discipline, is no longer as effective as getting the desired results. The
discipline approaches of the 1950’s and 1960’s do not work with the students of the 1990’s. In addition, the teacher
their children are receiving, and do not feel they want to support the needs of their child’s teachers.
Teachers cannot get their needs met in a classroom unless they have an effective method of discipline in which they
thoroughly understand and comfortable utilize. An assertive teacher is: “One who clearly and firmly communicates
his or her wants and needs to his or her students, and is prepared to reinforce their words with appropriate actions.”
Lesson plans are part of a professional routine, and are done almost automatically when the need arises. However,
planning for discipline is an entirely different story. The vast majority of teachers have learned or have been exposed
to the steps involved in planning discipline programs, especially those to be used specifically with disruptive
Such complaining may help to relieve the strain of dealing with difficult students, but it in no way helps to solve the
problem. Planning your discipline efforts, and utilizing assertive principles, are as essential to teaching as a lesson
planning for academic efforts. Discipline plans are important and helpful to all teachers. Charles, urges to make
discipline plans according to the following steps: 1) Identify any existing or potential discipline problems. 2) Specify
the behaviors you want the students to eliminate or engage in. 3) Decide on negative and positive consequences
Discipline planning is the systematic applications of the assertive principles the teacher exhibits. It involves focusing
your attention on any existing or potential discipline problems you may have. These discipline problems may
involve an individual student, or a group of students, or an entire class.
Having good discipline enables the teacher to deal assertively with their students. He or she will know how to
maximize their potential influence to get their needs met, with more difficult situations it may be useful for the
who may be familiar with the students or have successfully managed similar problems.(Canter,22) One final area
have some basic discipline planning. Once again, the teacher must determine the behavior wanted and not wanted,
the limit – setting and positive consequences, and how the program will be started.
The assertive teacher recognizes the fact that he or she has wants and needs and has the right to get them met in the
classroom. The teacher is also aware of the limitations and realizes that they have the right to ask for assistance,
whether it is from the principle, parents, or peers.(Charles,37) The assertive teacher should be aware of the child’s
need for warmth and support.
An assertive teacher is aware that a limit setting response must be delivered in as effective a manner as possible. Eye
contact is very important when trying to get a point made. Whenever necessary, the teacher plans how to back up
their limit setting statement with appropriate consequences. This is done in order to maximize the influence that his
or her response can have on the behavior of the child.(Canter, 28)
Whenever required, teachers should be prepared to back up their words with consequences in order to motivate the
behavior of more difficult children. He or she is aware some children need more support than others and is prepared
to give that child as much as they can. (Canter, 32)
and unacceptable behavior. This gives them an opportunity to choose how they want to behave while knowing fully
what the consequences will be for their behaviors. This does not mean that every child will like an assertive teacher,
and does not mean that every child will behave. Some children may still decide not behave for any reason. All that
an assertive teacher can do by his or her behavior is try to establish an atmosphere where he or she maximizes the
potential for a positive teacher – child relationship.
The major area where being an assertive teacher helps a child is when the student has special needs or problems.
This when a teacher needs to step things up a notch and become more assertive. Some teachers may lose track of
their assertive potential, but they have to teach the child how to behave in the appropriate manner. (Canter, 46)
One problem area where a child needs assertive discipline is when he or she is confronted with peer pressure. This is
when the student’s fellow peers force him or her to do something, like throw spit balls or make funny noises to win
the approval of others. This problem can be solved by confronting the child and telling him what he or she is doing
standing in the corner with his or her back turned to the rest of the class. If all else fails, the teacher may want to call
the child’s home and plan a conference with the student’s parents.
Though most teachers feel threatened and overwhelmed by parents, especially if they are pushy or manipulative,
their child. Instead they should tell the parents the way things are. For instance a teacher should not call the child’s
parents and say, “we have a little problem with your son,” when in actuality, the child had a violent tantrum. The
teacher should let the parents know that they need their cooperation to discipline the child at home for his tantrum. If
the teacher does not tell the parents what they truly feel then the child’s tantrum will be even worse the next time.
The corner stone of assertive discipline is the potential positive influence teachers can have on the behavior of their
students. ” Hand in hand with influence goes responsibility.” (Canter, 57) When teachers accept the consequences of
their potential influence they accept the consequences of their potential influence they accept the responsibility to
choose, or not to choose, to utilize this potential for the best interest of both themselves and the students.
themselves and get their needs and the children needs met. They know they can have the impact on their classrooms
if they choose to do so. Other teachers choose not to accept the reality of their potential influence. Thus, they are
confronted with the following situations: they place themselves in a powerless position. They view themselves as a
helpless victim at the mercy of the students, their parents, the principle, and the school system. Such teachers
become the complainers. They complain about everyone and everything that “victimize” them. (Charles, 120) They
end up blaming all of their problems on others, and never on themselves.