Every career has its ups and downs and for teachers the ups are wonderful! From forming bonds with pupils to the “aha moment” when they finally grasp the lesson, you can leave work with the satisfaction of knowing that each and every day counts and you are making a difference.
Yes, the positive times are great but they are often displaced by classroom management. Give your students an inch and they will take a mile, so if you’re not comfortable with disciplining those difficult students, you may develop a distaste for teaching.
Contacting parents may seem like the best option when it comes to dealing with difficult students but in a lot of cases, it can backfire and cause friction between you and said guardians.
A challenging student, along with unsupportive parents and a lack of help in the classroom due to budget cuts, can cause you to despise something you once loved, so if you’re struggling, here are 10 ways to help you manage those problematic pupils:
Don’t take it personally – Your students aren’t acting out because they don’t like you. Well maybe some are but for the most part, they are doing it because they want attention. Perhaps they don’t receive enough at home so seek it at school or maybe they’re just putting on a show for their peers to try and look like the cool kid. Whatever the reason, don’t question yourself or your teaching method and try and observe these pupils closely. Make note of what they react to and get a rise off and you may see a pattern which helps you prevent your pupil from acting out.
Don’t lecture – Lectures will never help. Think back to when you were younger, did a lecture ever really work for you? Going down this route will only further push your pupils to rebel and that will make everything worse. Instead, model the same behaviour and respect you expect from your pupils and hope they adapt the same. Be sure to recognise and reward good behaviour in front of the whole class so they can see that behaving appropriately doesn’t go unnoticed.
Try not to get angry – It is easy to respond with anger and frustration when students deliberately break the rules over and over but anger will only encourage them. Sadly, some students thrive off this type of reaction so don’t give in, take a deep breath and stay cool. The sooner they realise it isn’t bothering you, the sooner they’ll get bored.
Try to empathise with the student – Think about events in their lives that might be causing them to act this way. Talk to other teachers and see if they’ve ever had to deal with similar behaviour and how they handled it. Remember, as a teacher you can only do so much, so If you feel that the student is in need of more help than you can offer, subtly plan a lesson which informs students where they can go and who they can speak to anonymously, if they’re having problems inside/outside of school. Print off helpful hand-outs so that students have this information should they ever need to reach out further.
Speak to students in private about their behaviour – When a student misbehaves; do not address their behaviour during the class. Speak to them privately. Set a positive tone and make sure the student understands it’s their behaviour you don’t like and not them. Talking with them on a one to to one level with respect may encourage them to open up to you more, allowing you to get to the real route of the problem.
Don’t hold a grudge – Treat everyday as it comes and give every student a fresh start at the beginning of a new day. This gives them a chance to be better but also for you to feel more relaxed rather than stress the night before or in the morning about “so and so’s” bad behaviour.
Greet using first names – Welcome all your students with their first names before lessons. When talking to them use their first names to show you care. Take an interest in what they like and build it into lesson plans. You could become more favoured which will result in less interruptions by the usually disruptive students.
Listen – If a student is persistently misbehaving talk to them and listen to what they have to say. Maybe all they need is a friendly ear. If you do this it might stop them from misbehaving and could start a strong student-teacher relationship.
Insist students take responsibility for their behaviour – Enforce the rules on them and tell them how they have acted, and how they should be acting.
Never give up – Believe in yourself, your methods and your students. There is always a way to get through. Difficult tasks always take time but believe you can change them. After all, you became a teacher to overcome challenges in the first place!
If you’re still struggling with classroom management after following our tips, why not try classroom observation app, VEO, the cost effective, easy to use system which helps educators improve quality and performance and share good practice.
Alternatively, if your school deals with difficult students regularly, it may be wise to get to the root of the problem today with tootoot. This safeguarding platform allows pupils to safely report any worries and incidents of bullying, cyber bullying, racism, extremism, radicalisation, sexism, mental health and homophobia etc directly to your school using an individual login.