Our schedule that year was I.N.S.A.N.E. We only had related arts 3 days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so Tuesday and Thursday were l-o-n-g days. In fact, we had no break at all from 8am- 12:30 when we went to lunch. 4.5 hours is a long time for a 7 year old to have to sit and learn, so we needed a break.
It started on a Tuesday. My students were driving me batty and I knew it was because they needed to get some of their pent-up energy out. I checked the gym, and it was empty. (Mr. Burney's break time) What started as a 'get your crazy out' time, quickly turned into Basic Training.
What amazed me the most was my students' reaction- they loved it! They wanted it every day! Even my parents (the parents of my students) loved it! One parent commented that she loved that her child was becoming healthier. That was the same students that insisted that her mom buy her combat boots so she could be more authentic in her training. :)
From that day on, it was military discipline. My students enjoyed thinking of themselves as soldiers and behaved accordingly. I know other classes looked at mine and thought we were crazy, but it worked.
I need to point out- I had FULL PARENT SUPPORT this year. When my students came up with the rule- If you don't come prepared, you get 10 push-ups, I was skeptical, but no one balked. My students came with their homework done and their behavior folders signed, or faced the consequences.
We made a chart of behavior consequences, with me telling them when their consequences became a little off-the-wall. (running 50 laps for changing a color on the behavior chart seemed a little obsessive)
By the end of the year, my students were buff. I take pride in the fact that my students could flat-out run for 5 minutes straight and not get winded.
The added bonus was that the rest of the school now thought I was nuts. No student wanted to be sent to my class because they knew they would have to follow my disciple chart as well. Some parents heard of my discipline style and requested their student be in my classroom the following year.
Ever since that year, I've started my year strong with high expectations of my students. I let them know up-front that I'm pretty-dang-tough. In fact, during registration this year I passed out Army Recruitment pencils to my students and told them, "Welcome to the Army." Crazy? Yes. Effective? You bet!
Now, as for the 'General' part... I just liked the way it sounded. :)
p.s. It's become a little of a joke, but I take pride in being 'The Meanest Teacher in the School". All of my students, present and former, will say it, but they say it while laughing or rolling their eyes. If they don't, I'll have them in push-up position. ;)