Debra Purcell-Regis experienced so much success as a teacher because she understood the needs of the children in her care and worked hard to help them to develop in whatever way that she could. On occasion, this called for discipline to be meted out in order to demonstrate that a child’s actions were wrong. This can be difficult for many teachers to do effectively while still maintaining the respect and cooperation of the child in later lessons, so try to keep the below in mind.

Create Easily Understandable Rules

Upon taking over a new class, one of the first things that you should do is establish boundaries that you expect the children to stay within. This should not necessarily be done in an authoritarian tone, as this could lead to the children becoming fearful and thus finding it harder to engage in lessons. Instead, be clear about the rules, their consequences and, most importantly, why you have put those rules in place.

Explain Disciplinary Actions

Disciplinary actions will have little effect on children if they don’t understand what they have done wrong or why their actions merit punishment. Be firm but fair in your interactions with children when disciplining them, making it a point to explain why what they have done is wrong while also offering advice on how to behave better in future.

Be Fair

Debra Purcell-Regis understands that children will quickly pick out instances of favoritism, so you must make sure that you are fair at all times. Hand out comparable punishments for the children who have committed the same infractions and always explain your actions.



Before she made the decision to retire in 2014, Debra Purcell-Regis had established a reputation for being an excellent teacher who was abler than most in terms of helping children develop. While she placed a lot of her focus on personal interactions with her students, she also recognized that good classroom management is vital if you’re going to create a healthy learning environment. These tips will help any new teachers who are struggling with this aspect of the job.

Use Your Natural Voice

A lot of teachers make the mistake of trying to put on a persona when they enter the classroom, which often means using a big, booming and authoritative voice when delivering lessons. Students will quickly notice that this is not natural and you may find they become less engaged. Be yourself, within the boundaries of professional responsibility.

Establish Rules

One of the first things you should do when taking on a new class is establish the rules that you expect students to abide by. Make these rules clear and also outline the consequences of breaking any of your guidelines. Furthermore, you need to make sure you are consistent and fair when exercising the classroom rules.

Design Good Lessons

Debra Purcell-Regis spent a lot of her time developing engaging lessons for her students. If your lessons are boring, or focus entirely on a single teaching style, you may find that many of your students switch off and don’t actually learn. Try to make your lessons fun and interesting, while also delivering the information that your students need.

In addition to being the holder of two degrees, in Art History and Psychology, Debra Purcell-Regis was also a teacher for a number of years. She placed much of her focus on developing personal connections with her students and doing what she could to aid in their developments. She is keen to continue nurturing youngsters in any capacity that she can, particularly when they are in the classroom, following her retirement. With that in mind, these tips should help any students, no matter their ages, get the most out of their lessons.

Ditch The Distractions

In an age where smartphones have become practically ubiquitous, it is often hard to escape from them when you are in the classroom. Between updates from social media sites, notifications from apps and texts from your friends, it can be all too easy to allow yourself to become distracted by checking your phone when you are in a lesson. To avoid this issue, make sure that your phone is turned off before the class starts. Whatever notifications you get during the lesson will still be there when you turn the phone back on.

Take Notes

Staying active during lessons is important, particularly if the classroom session is predominantly based around a fairly dry lecture. By taking notes you keep your brain engaged and give yourself another reason to keep listening to your teacher. Furthermore, you will likely find that the notes you take are more useful to you in your revision, as they have been written from your point of view. Try to train yourself to jot down the information that is clearly going to be important later on.

Ask Questions

Always remember that your teacher is there to help you to learn as much as possible. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that your learning preferences may be different to the teaching style employed in the classroom, which can sometimes mean that you won’t fully understand concepts until they are explained to you in a different fashion. Don’t be scared of asking questions in class, as doing so will allow you to confirm the information you have been told so that you can continue your scholastic development.

Be On Time

It may seem like a simple tip, but Debra Purcell-Regis points out that many students miss out on important information because they are tardy. The first few minutes of a class are usually spent establishing the aims of the lesson, which can be lost on those who turn up late. Furthermore, being tardy will usually mean that you are in a rush, which creates stress that you bring into the classroom with you. This can make it even harder to absorb the information that you are being taught.


During her time as a teacher, Debra Purcell-Regis found that working with children was both challenging and extremely rewarding. Children present their own challenges that you must be able to overcome in order to help them to fulfill their potential, so consider the following pointers if you are going to head into the teaching profession, or any other career that puts you in close contact with children.

Form Bonds

You should aim to treat each child that you work with as an individual, which means taking a little bit of time to understand them on a personal level. This works to engender respect in the child and helps them to realize that you are genuinely trying to help them. It will also help you to understand a little bit more about their personal motivations and how best to work with them.

Be Clear When Communicating

It is often easy to confuse children, particularly those at a younger age, if you try to make your instructions too complex. Instead, make an effort to keep things as easy to understand as possible, meaning that there is no way the student could misinterpret your instructions.

Have Fun

While you should make an effort to establish yourself as an authoritative presence whenever you work with children, if you make your interactions too strict you may find it difficult to engage with them. Debra Purcell-Regis recommends having fun with your work, encouraging the children to interact with you and each other, while also ensuring that they focus on important work when needed.

During the course of her career as a teacher, Debra Purcell-Regis worked in a number of different schools in upstate New York, which meant that she had to adapt to new environments at various points in her career. This can often be difficult for teachers who are used to the way things are done in their previous school, so she has the following advice for people who are struggling.

Introduce Yourself

One of the first things that you should do when you start working at a new school is introduce yourself to everybody that you are going to be working with. This allows you to form personal connections and potential friendships that will make your working life a lot easier.

Ask Questions

Each school will have slightly different ways of doing things, so it is crucial that you take a little bit of time to ask questions of the staff members you meet to make sure there is nothing that you need to know that may prove important during the course of the average day.

Understand The Lay Of The Land

You do not want to end up in a position where you have to ask a student where your own class is, but that may well happen if you don’t take a little bit of time to explore the new school so that you know where everything is. Debra Purcell-Regis recommends arriving a little earlier on your first day so that you can map the route to your classroom in your head. You can then stay after school to explore a little more and get a feeling for the building.

While Debra Purcell-Regis did everything that she could to help her students in the classroom when she was a teacher, she also knows that studying outside of school is vital if you are going to find success during exams. This is why she always made it a point to help students find the best ways to study when they left the classroom and she has the following tips for those who are struggling.

Identify Your Weaknesses

Your studying should revolve around trying to improve in areas where you may be underperforming, so you must possess the capacity to identify your own weaknesses. In doing so, you immediately highlight the areas where you need improvement and thus provide yourself with the first semblance of a study plan that you can proceed to execute later on.

Create A Schedule

Now that you know the subjects that you need to study, it is time to create a schedule where you allot time to each one. Make sure that you cover everything that you need to and that you understand the methods you are going to use for studying, whether it be reading a textbook or answering questions related to a subject. Build in rest period to your study schedule as well, as you will exhaust your brain if you spend every single spare hour of the day with your books.

Remove Distractions

When you sit down to study, your television should be turned off and your cellphone should be nowhere in sight. Distractions will break your train of thought and may even pull you away from your studies entirely, so make sure you do everything you can to create a study area that is completely clear of anything that may be able to pull your attention away from what you are meant to be learning.

Create Study Groups

A lot of people tend to avoid study groups because they believe they learn better on their own, which is perfectly fine but also means you miss out on the major benefit that such groups can provide. A good study group encourages the sharing of ideas and information, which may lead to you getting a difference perspective on a subject or hearing something that you may not have caught during your lessons. By combining your knowledge with others, you can create a sum of information that serves every member of the group well when it comes time to take exams.

Ask The Teacher

Debra Purcell-Regis was always quick to encourage her students to ask questions in the classroom or to approach her outside of it if they were struggling with a subject. Remember that your teachers are here to help and they will do everything that they can to make sure you are prepared for your exams.

One of the biggest challenges that teachers face is keeping a classroom of students engaged in a topic for the duration of a lesson. This is an aspect of teaching that Debra Purcell-Regis always demonstrated an aptitude for during the course of her 25 years in the profession and she has the following tips to offer those who may be struggling.

Be Enthusiastic

One of the quickest ways to turn students off from a subject is to demonstrate a lack of enthusiasm for it. If your students see that you are getting bored, many of them are likely to take this as a cue to mean that the subject is unimportant. As such, you need to work on ways to deliver your lesson with passion and conviction, reinforcing the notion that what is being taught is important and demonstrating your enthusiasm for the subject matter at all times.

Real Life Connections

If you teach a subject like literature or history, it can often be hard to keep a student’s attention because they don’t believe what they are being taught relates to their lives in any way. As a teacher, it is your job to show the student why the subject is relevant to them. Try to stay up to date on current movies and other popular media, considering ways that you can relate your lessons to them while still teaching the core information related to your subject. If there is a direct example of how what you teach has helped you in the real world, make sure to use it.

Offer Choices

It is important that you remember that each student will have their own preferences when it comes to learning. Some enjoy reading a textbook, whereas others enjoy discussing the subject and listening to other ideas. This means that if you only focus on a single style of teaching, you are going to leave students who prefer other styles feeling disenfranchised or bored. Make sure that you offer plenty of choice and variety in your lessons, allowing students to work in the way that best suits them.


Debra Purcell-Regis notes that by making students more responsible for the outcome of your lessons, you will be better able to actively engage them. This means holding them accountable through the use of tests and quizzes or holding classroom discussion where the student must demonstrate their knowledge in front of people. Show your students that failure to make an effort will lead to consequences, be it in lower grades or embarrassment in front of the class when they are called upon to answer a question and their reply is of a poor standard. While you shouldn’t use accountability as a threat, make it clear that students are responsible for themselves as much as you are responsible for them when it comes to learning.