The only people who think teaching or being a parent is an easy job are those that have never done either! These are two of the most important jobs in the world. Unfortunately, they can also be the easiest to make a mess of if we aren't careful. As a teacher of young children, I have found my job to be such a wonderful experience. There have also been times as I grew as a professional when my job also became so unbelievably frustrating when it came to learning good discipline techniques. I have been following a beautiful first year teacher Kristen's blog and her last post before her Spring break motivated me to write this post. She has so much enthusiasm and love for her students that I thought perhaps this post might help..

One of the hardest things a teacher or parent can face is controlling obnoxious behavior. Over the course of my career, I have learned that too much explaining or talking just breeds more misbehavior. I have also found that the more upset or angry I got, the more likely the child is to repeat the unacceptable behavior.

What I use is fairly simple. I learned this technique in a  teacher workshop. The workshop was based on the discipline techniques and the book by Dr. Phelan called 1-2-3 Magic. Thanks to Vicki at Frugal Mom Knows Best  for helping me remember! (I have taken so many in service workshops, it is hard to keep track of all of them.) When a child misbehaves, I start counting out loud saying the number 1 without any explanation or argument. If the child continues the inappropriate behavior, I say that's 2. My students know that when I get to 3, they go directly to time out. 

I am certain some of you parents out there are saying, but what if they won't stay in time out. I would suggest that you put them back in their room and extend the time out by five minutes. If you have to stand there and hold the door, then do so. Another option is to put one of those plastic covers over the handle so that the child is unable to open the door from the inside.  Don't argue back and once the time out is served, don't explain or discuss the misbehavior. Just go on enjoying the child acting appropriately! This procedure may seem too easy but I promise you it works. Eventually, I found that I got good control by the time I counted to 2 because the child knows I mean business. Consistency is the key along with no room for argument or emotion.  I found that it does not work if I lost my temper or showed emotion. When I talked too much, I found that I took the child's focus off of the need for good behavior. By trying to reason or talk with the child, I switched his or her focus onto the possibility of arguing with me!

Some of you teachers and parents are probably thinking "What about when we are out in public? "Whether you are a teacher on a field trip or a parent in a restaurant, there is always a public restroom or some out of the way spot that you can take the child to. Make him or her serve the time out once you have counted to 3. Whenever you get to 3, the child needs to know the consequence.What you will do is make the child think and take responsibility for their own behavior.

My college age daughter has accused me of talking like  a "Kindergarten Teacher" at home for years. This is a funny little test that you can take if you are a teacher or homeschooling Mom to see if you are truly a teacher at heart. Answer the following questions to see how you rate:

If someone sneezes, do you hand them the tissue box?
Do you ask your guests if they remembered their coats, mittens and scarves as they get ready to leave?
Do you repeat everything at least twice?
On a girl's night out, do you ask your girlfriends if anybody needs to go to the bathroom before a movie or a play?
Do you sing the "Good Morning" song in your head as you drive?
Do you say "I like the way you did that!" to the man who comes to clean your carpets?
When everyone is getting in the car, do you say "Quick like bunnies!"?
When dinner is ready, do you call out "Ready or not, dinner's ready!"?
Do you say "Very good" when answering  a friend? 

If you answer yes to at least three, you are a teacher!
If you answered yes to at least five, give retirement some thought!
If you answered yes to seven or more, you are a  teacher at heart whether you retire or not!


How did you do? Can any of you add other questions to the test above?

I remember about seven years ago when I was still in the public schools getting ready to play a record for the children on the first day of school. I pulled the record out of its sleeve and was about to position  it on the record player when one boy said to another "That is the biggest CD I ever saw!"

Having used records for over twenty-five years, it never dawned on me that a child might not ever have seen a record before. When I came to my new school, I searched in vain for a used record player but to no avail. They are as obsolete as the dinosaur now. I have seen a few in department stores that retail around one hundred dollars but as a kindergarten teacher, I didn't have those kinds of funds to invest. My large collection of old records sits at home gathering dust. Ah, progress!

We have Chapel once a week in my current school. Two years ago, we brought the class to their first Chapel service and sat them down in the pews. After the Chaplain spoke to the children, the music teacher got up to sing some songs. She has a very high soprano voice. One little boy looked at the child next to him and with a shocked look on his face and said "EWWWWWW! This is Opera!!!!! I don't know how to do Opera!!!!!!!" He sat through the song with the most miserable look on his face while his teacher literally chewed the insides of her mouth to keep from laughing out loud.

This year we were in Chapel one Wednesday when the Principal sat with my class. We fill up two rows so she sat in the row in front of me with eight children and I sat directly behind her with eight more. During the service I saw my Principal turn around to my row and hold her hand out. One adorable little blond slapped her hand. I thought to myself how odd it was that she would have a child give her high five during the service. She turned around only to turn around again with her hand out. This time the child sitting next to the blond placed a rubber band in her hand. He had evidently been popping it without me seeing him.

Whether you work in private enterprise or in a public school, chances are eventually you will encounter one of THOSE supervisors. You may recognize him or her by their condescending tone or “Iamalwaysrightanddon’tyouforgetit “attitude. If you haven’t ever had the pleasure, count yourself lucky!

I was lucky enough to have just such an administrator for one year in the public schools. Teachers cringed when they heard the click click of her high heels coming down the hall. I had recently come back from maternity leave and had to be placed in a different school due to the length of my leave. The teachers in the school warned me about THE supervisor but by that time, I had twenty years of experience under my belt and wasn’t too worried. My philosophy was to listen, smile and then do what I knew was right for kids. If necessary, I could always beg forgiveness rather than ask permission.

I got through the school year with no confrontations that The Principal was famous for and it was time for my end of the year evaluation. I smiled at the secretaries as I entered The Principal’s office ready for my evaluation.

Once I sat down, I will never forget her looking at me and saying “How can you unleash the cross-curricular higher-order thinking in your students that will expedite their learning?” I looked at her for a minute and then asked “Could you run that by me again?” She obligingly repeated herself.

I sat there for a minute and then answered “ I don’t know what you just said to me, but if you would like to know what I do to help my students achieve success, I would be happy to share that with you.” She just looked at me so I began to do just that. The rest of the evaluation went fine and as I exited her office, I saw the secretaries stifling their laughter with their hands over their mouths. They had tears in their eyes they were laughing so hard. One had to get up and head to the bathroom because she couldn’t stop laughing. She motioned for me to follow her and when she could finally talk, she told me that they had heard everything since the door was open. They thought it was so funny that I had “taken her down a peg”. I replied that I hadn’t meant to. I just figured that rather than engage in educational jargon and a guessing game, I would just cut to the chase. I got a good evaluation by the way.

As for the Principal, she was transferred to another school the next year. On one of the very last teacher workdays, she was sitting behind her desk with her feet crossed and propped up on her desk. As she conversed with someone on the telephone about her recent promotion, some of the staff witnessed her lean a little too far back in her chair when all of a sudden……crash! All they could see were her feet shooting straight up in the air. She evidently lost her balance and her chair fell back to the floor. Now THAT might have taken her down a peg!

I came back to school today after a very restful week of winter break ready to tackle another week in Kindergarten. When I checked my mail, I saw that I had received a letter from a parent the day we after we got out. The family is originally from England and I love to listen to them talk.

This letter made my spirits soar and reminded me why I love teaching young children so much!!! It makes me feel that I am accomplishing my goal of making learning fun. I will tuck this letter away with the others and cherish it. What a gift!

Dear Mrs B...,

I'm not sure if we have told you lately how wonderful you are!

G... does not go to school everyday, she goes on a learning adventure with the fabulous Mrs. B... and amazing Mrs. K... in their kindergarten world. Her Kindergarten adventures take her into Mrs. B...'s real life shop to learn about money or into the land of Willy Wonka, every learning experience to her is wonderful and because it's so wonderful she learns. G.... sees no obstacles in her path just wonder and excitement. She is loved and cared for, encouraged and nurtured. Thank you for giving G.... every opportunity she could ever wish for.

I can only compare G....'s school start to H....'s and you are head and shoulders above any teacher England has to offer.
Thank you have a fantastic break.

R.... and C..........


Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.


I distinctly remember the year that the movie The Lion King came out. Students got Happy Meal mini stuffed animals, books, toys and any other likenesses to one of the characters in the movie that they could get their hands on. One child decided he didn't need any of those!

It was the first time ever for the children to be introduced to the Physical Education teacher as another school year began. I took my students to PE, introduced the children to their coach, and told them I would be back soon to get them.  I started down the hall toward my classroom when I heard the coach bellow my name and ask for help. 

I went back into the gym to hear her tell one child "What is your name?" He calmly replied "Cimba!" She said again "What is your name?" with a little less patience. He again replied Cimba but added a little roar. I could see her face turning red so I calmly walked over to him and said "Tell her your name". He replied "Cimba".
 I said " Tell her your real name" and he did as the coach rolled her eyes in disgust. "He was just being a five year old and wasn't really trying to be defiant." I whispered to her.

I had to chuckle as I again walked back to my classroom. That is the only year I can recall that Cimba came to visit Kindergarten!