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Chris Reid

Vignette #1- Sept. 24, 2015

What happen
In walked an angry teacher, from another class, with one of his 3rd grade students. The teacher
instructed her to write about what she did, and that she would have to take it home for her
parents sign. Sitting at the back of the classroom, I smiled at the student. She took the bait and
sat by me.

I introduced myself. She would not say her name, so I asked her write it down. I asked what
happen. She shrugged. I asked her to write down the one word that may have cause the problem.
She wrote down “talk.” I then asked her write a sentence telling me what happen first. She wrote
something about a boy talking to her, and she did not like what he said, so she responded loudly
back. I asked, “What next?” She started writing a lot.

When she was done, I told her that school is not just for learning reading and math. We also
learn social skills. I said that tomorrow, and the next day, and forever she would have people get
on her nerves. We talked about what she could do next time. She wrote that she would: 1) ignore
the person, 2) tell the teacher, or 3) ask the person to please stop.

The next important step was telling the teacher that she was sorry. I explained it would make her
feel better, and that it would make her relationship with her teacher better. I stated, “ I can tell
you like the idea of writing an apology because your eyes are brighter and you are sitting up
straighter.” She wrote an apology to her teacher.

I had been watching the class videos #3, #4 & #10; therefore Gordon’s constructive discipline
was on my mind. Fields, Meritt, & Fields say “…conflicts provide the necessary experience for
learning, as well as teachable movements” (2014, p. 56). Further on it reads, “Teaching children
to think critically about their behavior and to use reasoning abilities to learn to solve
interpersonal problems is consistent with current recommended approaches to teaching other
subjects.” This was a teachable moment.

Short and long-term results

Short-term, this situation was resolved because she wrote an apology to her teacher. The only
time she made eye contact with me was when I told her that I have a sister who frustrates me,
and that I still have to practice what we both just talked about.

Long-term, I made a new friend. She smiles at me when I see her. Hopefully, what I said has
started a new thought process for her.

My philosophy
The more I read, the more I know I am a constructivist. I think discipline should be done in
private. I want every discipline to be a healthy, learning experience..

I see a lot of authoritarians and behaviorists in school. Teachers often send their students to
another class when there is a problem. Normally they sit in a chair by the door for 5 minutes and
then go back to their class. After today, I feel challenged to talk to these students. I think it will
be helpful for them, and it will allow me to practice constructive discipline.

Vignette #2- Nov. 15, 2015

What happen
1st graders were lined up in two lines to play a game with their teacher. The teacher stands at the
front of the lines and holds up a word card. Whoever says the word first gets the card. The two
students then go to the back of the line while the next two students move to the front of the line.
The game is exciting, loud, and fun.

Halfway through the game I heard crying. I found a girl crouched on the floor. I asked her what
happen, and she said that the girl in front of her “stepped on her leg.” Because of what I have
been learning about discipline I knew not to judge the situation. I said to the standing girl, “Can
you tell me what happen?” She said, “I was excited and accidently jumped on her leg.” I replied,
“So you didn’t mean to?” “She said no.” I asked her how we might fix the situation. She then
apologized. The girl on the floor said, “It is OK,” and she stood up. Both girls excitedly returned
to the game.

Jean Piaget states that when children are approximately age 7 they are in the preoperational stage
where they “reason not on the basis of logic but on impressions they obtain” (Charles, 2011, p.
23). The hurt student only knows that she got hurt and she is not happy about it. Her
“impression” is that the girl in front of her stepped on her leg. She is not logically thinking that
she got hurt accidently because of the commotion of the game. Rather she just knows she it hurt.

Fields, Meritt, & Fields state that she does not “hesitate to spend school time helping children
learn to settle a group problem. She calls it her social studies curriculum and considers it time
well spent. By making time for interpersonal relations skills, she shows that she considers such
skills important” (2014, p. 141). My job as a teacher is to guide students through these social

Short and long term results

The short-term result was that apologizing made both girls feel better, which allowed them to
quickly return to the game. The long-term result is that both students were given the chance to
explain what happen, which led to the practice of apologizing. Maybe next time they will be able
to apologize without the help of a teacher.

My philosophy
My intervention in the above situation fits my philosophy because I demonstrated constructive
guidance in a discipline situation. Ultimately, these are necessary social skills for all my

I know that my response to these two girls was different because of the many resource books I
am reading for this class. Before this class I would not have asked the second girl what happen. I
would have then responded by saying, “You need to be more careful and watch what you are
doing.” I would have judge the situation without asking for further information.

Vignette #3-November 12, 2015

What happen
In a 4th grade class I was observing the teacher instruct a lesson as the students watched from the
floor. I was watching Malachi, the student who is often off task in this class. For example,
yesterday when I walked into class, the teacher had just radioed someone from the office to come
get him because of disruptive behavior.

I watched Malachi reach into a desk and take two dry-erase markers and an eraser out of a desk.
He then used the markers to drum on the eraser on the floor. Previously there had been a problem
with students’ dry-erase markers (and pencils) disappearing from desks.

I was thankful that I had taken time to greet Malachi with a kind word and a smile as he walked
into class. I knew that I had this positive contact going for me. I casually sat near Malachi and
whispered, “Did you bring those markers to class with you?” He said, “No, they were in there”
as he pointed to the desk. I replied, “Will you put them back when you are done?” He said, “Ya.”
I smiled and said, “Thanks. I appreciate it.” I slowly moved back, and sure enough, he put them
back. I thought to myself, “That was so easy.”

Piaget states that socially, 4th graders “become increasingly independent, although they still want
attention and affection from teachers…Socially, students often become highly argumentative”
(Charles, 2011, p. 23). I see all of this in my 4th grade class.
Glasser states, “We cannot ‘make’ students do anything, but we can influence them to do things
that lead to better behavior and increased success” (Charles, 2011, p. 139). I believe I saw great
success today by suggesting, and not telling, Malachi what to do.

Short and long term results

My short-term discipline worked magic for Malachi. Long-term, I sense that Malachi sees that I
am on his side. (See more in my Reflection below.)

My philosophy
Malachi does not fit the “paper doll pattern” of the average kid. He needs a teacher who will be
one step ahead of him, helping him make healthy choices. An authoritarian will turn him into a
monster. A behaviorist will get him to cooperate for a time. A constructivist will help him learn
the social skills so that he can eventfully be a productive adult.

Because we have had an issue with student’s markers disappearing, I mentioned to the teacher
my conversation with Malachi. She responded, “And he did what you said? Oh my gosh! I would

have told him ‘Put those markers back now!’” She then looked at me and said, “And then he
would have blown up.” As she walked away from me I heard her say, ”Interesting.” Both the
teacher and I are learning that each of us has different theories of discipline, but this is OK. She
needs to run her class how best fits her personality and her needs. My job is to watch and learn,
and I am learning a lot!

What I have learned

The one thing that scared me the most about becoming a teacher was how to handle discipline
issues, or how to handle the “bad” kids. I knew that I would eventually take a class that would
help me memorize the procedures for discipline. I actually learned much more that I ever
imagined, which is benefitting my personal life along with the kids at school. I am no longer
afraid of discipline issues. Because I know what I believe in my heart and in my mind about
discipline, I feel that I will constructively be able to defuse most tough situations so that the
situation turns constructive for both the student and me.

There are no “bad kids.” Rather, the power is in me, the teacher. I love and believe what Haim G.
Ginott states:

“As a teacher I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the
classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the
weather. As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I
can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In
all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or deescalated, and
child humanized or dehumanized” (Charles, 2011, p. 219).

Relationships are my top priority and my passion.


Charles, C.M. (2011). Building classroom discipline (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Fields, M.V., Meritt, P.A., Fields, D.M. (2014). Constructive guidance and discipline: Birth to
age eight (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.