Fernando: Student discipline


ADDRESSING student discipline issue must involve the collective effort of the school administration, the teaching and support personnel. Students’ discipline is a concern of the entire academe not only of those assigned as prefects of discipline, those in charge of the child protection policy, or the designated advisers.

One of the problems in imposing discipline among students especially in big schools is the lack of systematic manner of implementing it. Teachers do not agree among themselves in applying rules and regulations. Many teachers feel they do not have the right and responsibility of correcting students if they are not directly teaching these students.

So instead of giving immediate response to straighten a mistake or misbehavior, teachers ignore these misconducts, wait for a time to inform the advisers or worst, criticize the advisers of the students of not doing enough to prevent these untoward acts. This is why students ignore teachers who are not their advisers or subject teachers which we interpret as lack of respect from them.

Student discipline is an issue that requires immediate and methodical response from the school authorities. One way to address this is to acknowledge the immensity of the problem. We cannot achieve our dream of having quality education unless students learn to behave. Once we acknowledge how complex the problem is, we begin to realize that this problem needs more of our attention. The school through one of its seminars or meetings, can discuss the approaches the school can do to address this issue.

Teachers, regardless of what year level they belong, regardless of what subject they teach should be reminded that they have the responsibility to check, remind, or reprimand a student (regardless of what year level they belong , whether they are in junior high or senior high school) loitering, swearing, staying in canteens, auditorium or anywhere during class hours. They have the duty to lecture, remind or admonish a student who does not wear his/her ID, a male student who wear earrings, female students who have multiple earrings, those who wear tattered pants, and other conducts that do not conform to the character standard set by this formal institution. The last thing we can do is to pass by as if we hear and see nothing.

One weakness of imposing discipline is the inconsistency of those imposing it. It must be agreed that all teachers and personnel of the school practice at all times the full implementation of instigating discipline among students. A teacher who hears students shouting along a corridor should confront the students. The other teacher who passed by this corridor should do the same when these students continue to make noise. If the second teacher ignores this delinquency, the students will realize that not all teachers mind what they are doing hence it might not be bad at all. Next time, they will only make sure that the teacher who scolded them is not present before they play and make noise again. This is applicable in all cases. If a student who wears tattered pant is not corrected by the first teacher he/she meets, he/she might think it is okay. When the second teacher confronts this student, the student thinks it is unfair because he/she thinks that it is okay for some while not for other teachers.

The discipline concern is always a challenge among big schools. There are lot of students to handle, sometimes the teaching staff is so engrossed with paper works, the guidance office is undermanned, and the disciplining is left only to the teachers concerned. It is imperative that all teaching and non-teaching personnel of the school is on the same page in addressing the concern. In big schools such as Baguio City National High School, students are getting bolder in challenging the authorities. They are no longer watchful of their words and actions when their immediate teachers are not there even if other teachers are present.

Teachers are not only teachers for some students. Teachers are teachers of all students in the school thus it is their right and duty to teach all students, inside and outside the classroom. Grade 10 students are not disciplined only by Grade 10 teachers, the responsibility is given to all teachers and school administrators. You do not call the adviser to point out a mistake of one student when you are already there to correct. You are in uniform and your title is a teacher or a supervisor whose duty is teach students holistically. The school must acknowledge that student discipline is one enormous challenge that needs immediate solution.


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