Level two consequences, as with volume, is where most people live their entire career. Don’t be offended when I describe you, a veteran teacher of twenty years, in an unappealing light.
If I were to describe level two: "React Appropriately" consequence teachers in one word it would be: react. In a level-two teacher’s classroom, the students do a thing that is bad, and then the teacher reacts.
Student throws a paper: teacher reacts. Student doesn’t turn in homework: teacher reacts. Student stares at wall: teacher reacts.
This is a terrible, albeit common way to run a classroom because it is the students’ behavior that drives the culture of the classroom, and not the teacher. My students will forever be eighth graders. I would hope that most teachers can make more grounded decisions than most eighth graders.
While this advice is terrible to the expert educator, it does reveal how to progress from level one “obvious” rules and expectations and onto level two “react appropriately” level of reactionary consequences. The misbehaviors students will exhibit in your classroom are infinite and variable.
Level two is when you start moving away from the “big infraction: big consequence” and onto a single, smaller reaction appropriate to smaller infractions. There is only one smaller reaction to use at level two: moving a problem students’ seat. At this point in your classroom management life, your classroom rules gain another level, and you need to add “continuing, distracting behavior after moved seat,” to your “obviously bad” list.
At this point, your classroom management structure has two tiers:
The name of the game is: repetition. Ineffective teachers repeat themselves all the time. Adequate teachers repeat themselves once. I never repeat myself. Repeating yourself means that students don’t have to listen the first time. If students don’t have to listen the first time, students won’t listen the first time. When students don’t listen the first time, you’ll repeat your directions for each student when they’re confused. While you’re repeating your directions for each student individually, other students will disengage from your lesson and figure out some awesome, hilarious ways to destroy your lesson. Then the screaming begins. The end.
Ineffective teachers love to give warnings. This time is a warning, and then, blah, blah, blah. “Cool, so after ignoring your rules, I still get to sit next to, and lean my shoulder against the shoulder of, the cutest cheerleader?” said every student who ignored your rules ever. Warnings have never worked. Ever. Ever. Instead of warnings, at the "react appropriately" level of classroom management, move past them, and continue ascending to the next level of classroom management.
If you tell a student to fix a behavior once, and then they do not fix that behavior, move their seat to a less desirable location. I don’t care about the time that transpires between the “tell” and the “fix.”
So much of the writing published about education is published by people who don't teach. I figured it was time for a teacher to write about teaching. I've been proud to teach 8th-grade ELA in Dunkirk City Schools since 2007, and to serve at Fredonia State University as an adjunct professor, teaching educational technology since 2017.