By Marty Keil
The Code of Conduct for Seguin ISD is comprehensive, detailed and covers many aspects of what is needed to maintain a positive learning environment. Educate Seguin strongly suggests a review of this Code to determine what is most necessary for behavior expectations. A positive learning environment is a productive learning environment
While rules are absolutely necessary to provide a safe and orderly place for learning to occur, the enforcement of those rules must be equitable and fair to all students. If not, many unintended consequences can also occur. Teachers and students alike want to feel safe, cared for, and respected. The safety features recently added to the elementary campuses are helpful in this regard.
In this blog, I’d like to discuss those parts of the Code that most directly impact learning.
First, school uniforms could eliminate much disrespect between students and teachers. This would help eliminate dress code violations where many inequitable punishments are handed out. Relationships between students and teachers would improve, promoting better camaraderie for all.
A later start time for high school may help with tardiness as well as help students be more attentive in class. The later start time to begin this fall for high school students is a great move.
Speaking as an experienced first grade teacher of 29 years, all in Seguin ISD, I can tell you that children of all ages respond to order, organization and clear parameters. From the youngest in pre-K to the graduating senior, students learn responsibility by observing the consequences for both good and bad behavior.
While some things change over time, the attributes for a quality place of learning are still the same. As I said above, students must feel safe, respected and truly cared about.
Our teachers work hard to create this environment on a daily basis.
As written in a previous blog, waivers granted by TEA on the maximum number of students per classroom also directly impact classroom discipline. Overcrowded classrooms hamper a teacher’s ability to keep the optimum learning space where an individual student’s needs can be met. Every year class sizes grow, even as objectives for each grade level increase, and become more challenging.
While the State sets the suggested classroom size, the local school district has the flexibility to set classroom sizes based on information at hand for its particular student population. Our school district should acknowledge this, and form smaller, more manageable class sizes.
Academics are not the only challenge in an overcrowded classroom. Students often compete for the teacher’s attention by acting out with unacceptable behavior, even though the reward may be negative. The physiological and emotional needs of the child must be met before any academic success can happen. Fewer children in K-3 classrooms allow the teacher to set the foundation for that child to have the necessary skills in place for the rest of their school career.
Finally, it comes down to giving teachers an opportunity to grow in experience at a particular grade level to become that highly “effective” teacher. Moving a teacher around every two years to various grade levels to see where they are most effective is a mistake and waste of energy. Effective, inspiring teachers are usually those with experience, knowledge and dedication that has been honed and refined through years of teaching at their preferred grade level.