Being a big fan of NYC Ed, I never miss a post. I've especially been enjoying the latest two on classroom discipline even though I am no longer part of that scene and thought I would add my own two cents here.
I, like Ms. Eyre, am not very big. And, when I first started teaching I was 20 years old, the same age as some of my students. To say I was terrified would be an understatement. I quickly realized that the kids liked me and I used that to my advantage. For example, hats were always a problem. I explained that I didn't agree much with the hat rule but I had to follow it or I would get in trouble. The kids removed hats to keep me safe. The same was true with cell phones.
When I started teaching at Packemin, the Principal walked in to a computer class of extremely difficult EH (emotionally handicapped) boys. Although I had taught for 8 years, I had zero experience with special education students like these kids and almost no computer knowledge. The lesson was not great but the write up was fantastic. The Principal at that time was a really smart guy and was impressed. The kids immediately stopped acting up and started participating as soon as he entered the room. He knew these kids well and recognized they were doing it to make me look good. From experience, he knew they did not care about how they looked. He was impressed by their response to me and knew I would eventually get them to where they were supposed to be.
The kids know that when an administrator walks in the room it is the teacher they are looking at, not them. I've seen kids who normally do next to nothing perk up to put on that little show as soon as someone in a suit enters the room. I had a girl almost in tears because her head was down when the Principal visited. She told me she was sick and was sorry if she got me in trouble. She wanted to go down and explain but I told her it was not necessary.
Every teacher needs his or her own style to maintain discipline in the classroom. I know some of the things I did were a little unorthodox, but they worked. My kids learned and did well on regents exams. They performed well during observations. There is no one size fits all. Trying to find one will not benefit anyone and will not help learning.