If I allow it, they think it’s okay

Laurie told us that if we allow a particular behavior, students will assume it’s acceptable.

Guess what. I used her “evil smile” when even the slightest talking started today. I stopped on a DIME when any whisper started, smiling in the direction of the offenders, not saying a word. I had the most rapt attention all day long in both English and Russian classes, the day after a very long weekend, and have had the best Monday of my year.


9 responses to “If I allow it, they think it’s okay

  1. I did this too. It really helped. I think that one of the keys to discipline this year is for me to NOT lose my cool, to remain calm and have a smile ready even for the people who might be trying to push my buttons. If they push a button and nothing happens– nothing! Nothing happens in class (because I stop) and nothing happens to make their teacher react, beyond smiling and waiting… well, it just takes the fun out of the distraction.


  2. Great reminder. So important to take care of the small problems. Following Ben’s advice – using seating charts and working the phone, I called a mom today whose child had been slow to take the no English bit and was creating a negative classroom vibe. Interesting that the mom told me the child’s complaint was that I spoke French all the time and they had to too! What a great opportunity to tell the “rest of the story”! When the misbehavior occured, I leaned in really close and whispered, “Have I called your parents yet?” walked to my desk and wrote her name on a postit, and followed up with the call. Really looking forward to teacher conferences next week!


  3. Can you describe the “evil smile”? It’s different from a normal smile, right?


    • Laurie just said to smile an evil smile. I smile at them while thinking of them scrubbing my desks. Somehow that seems to work.


      • A genuine I love being your teacher smile takes over your whole face. Your students know that smile. The evil smile is the smile that Michele described….(I love the desk scrubbing image lol)..it is the I love being your teacher but I am not going to put up with this one minute longer smile. They will see the difference. Or at least they will wonder why you are standing there, silently, and smiling at a time when they know that you should be frustrated. It gets there attention without yelling, screaming, slamming things, sighing, growling, griping or all of the other behaviors I have been known to exhibit in the frustrated moments of my past…..

        with love,


  4. Michele,
    Thanks for this timely post. I have been trying to follow your lead on this thread this week. Our kids are wound up due to Homecoming activities. Just hearing those words of wisdom from Laurie really helps us re-remember!

    Have had some great days this week and some not so great. (My second year class is deeply engaged in a fun story. Today we actually had a mock Jerry Springer show in class. It was hilarious and everyone was engaged and speaking French! I’m so thankful for days/classes like this. It helps make up for those moments that are less than perfect!)


  5. You know what I really like about the evil teacher smile…it’s that I am improving my mood because I’m smiling–they say that does something physiologically to make a person feel better, even if it’s fake. Meanwhile, kids in the class are getting severely irritated. Today it took just a second and a half of an evil smile in one group (at the repeat offender) to have the entire class shushing the kid. By then, I’m smiling my real “I love you all” smile, and we can go on.


  6. I think it’s time to break out the evil smile. I’ve been trying the “emotional response in English” with good success, but my biggest offenders are just simply lazy; they can do it, but just don’t want to force themselves to speak German yet. I like this in that it doesn’t make you the bad guy for keeping a higher standard. I don’t like being the bad guy, but I have no problem being evil.


    • LOL Nathan!!!

      Michele….you wrote: ” By then, I’m smiling my real “I love you all” smile, and we can go on.” This is exactly what happens!!! And the kids see it…

      and Ruth….it’s been the same in our district this week…crazy moments and crazy good moments.

      Thanks again for this blog Michele!

      with love,


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