In a training several years ago, it was Angie Clarke, a consulting associate from Teaching That Makes Sense, who opened my eyes to a new and better way of thinking about discipline when she said:
“The purpose of discipline is to disciple; discipline is teaching, not punishment.”
When Angie shared this with our group of high school teachers, something clicked. Her definition of discipline reminded me of my wise undergrad professor who taught our classroom management course prior to student teaching. This professor advised:
"A well-planned lesson that utilizes bell-to-bell instruction doesn't allow time for kids to cause problems."
Angie repeated her definition of discipline again. She shared a few anecdotes about "choices" students had made in her classroom and how she dealt with those "choices" that interrupted student learning and her instruction. While her students were much younger than ours, we shared similar problems: students interrupting, students making excuses, students turning in work late, etc. But she left the problem-solving to the students, rarely needed to call parents for "negative" behaviors, and asked a lot of questions instead of issuing punishments. Her "method" was genuine and full of compassion.