All ‘true’ leadership is born out of relationship; the deeper the relationship, the greater the ability to influence. To lead effectively, you will have to correct people sometimes and the stronger your relationship, the easier that is to do. Having rules without relationships is trouble.
As teachers, we are always trying to discipline someone else’s children and often all that comes our way is rebellion. Too many teachers are trying to teach/lead without any, or very little relationship. Imposing rules on someone where there is already a relationship and mutual respect, is usually met with less friction than imposing them on someone where there is no relationship.
In your classroom, it’s really important to have a great balance between rules with a troublesome student and a relationship. It’s going to be important to create that balance to help this student behave in your classroom. The goal is to break their will but definitely not to break their spirit.
Rules, expectations, and guidelines tell our students the limits of their behaviour – they set the context and the expectations of behaviour. They help the students know what is and is not acceptable in the eyes of the people within the school community and within larger groups of people. Relationship paves the way for communication about those expectations.
Boundaries equals freedom. In your classroom, you must have consistent expectations and boundaries with consistent preset consequences. The student knows about them and you know about them. When the student breaks your expectation that you have in your classroom, simply administer the consequence. The key is to be unemotional and consistent. If you are consistent with this and you’re unemotional and you just follow the plan, you’ll begin to see this troubled student start to become compliant with what you’re trying to do in your classroom. Over time you will slowly see them start to comply with the things that you’re doing.
It’s been said that rules without relationship leads to rebellion and can breed chaos. And relationship without rules leads to resentment.
Find that middle ground in your classroom. Find that balance!