Drawing on the literature related to classroom management, and culturally relevant critical teacher care, and effective teaching for students of color, this paper uses interview and observation data to explore the perspectives and practices of two exemplary fifth-grade teachers who refuse to rely on punitive discipline with their students of color. Findings revealed that the teachers did not view students’ behavior as challenging-- they viewed behavior simply as one of the many areas they believed it was their responsibility to teach. Their instructional practices focused on coaching students to reach their potential and liberating them from barriers that limit their access to successful life paths. The study helps both researchers and practitioners reflect on the concept that discipline assumes and provides portraits of teacher practice central to dismantling the school-to-prison-pipeline.

Publication Date


Journal Title

International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education


Taylor & Francis

Document Type



This is an Author’s Original Manuscript of an article to be published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.

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