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The Secret to Dealing with Unruly Students in Your Classroom

One of the biggest challenges for teachers dealing with a very unruly student in the classroom is maintaining control of the class and keeping the other students focused on their work. When one student is consistently disrupting the class, it can be difficult for the teacher to effectively teach and for the other students to learn. It can also be emotionally taxing for the teacher to constantly deal with a difficult student and can lead to increased stress and burnout. What's more, you kind of start to resent the kid for even going to school. I know it sounds harsh, but I'm sure a lot of us have been there.

I remember when I first started working as a teacher I had a few students who were literal nightmares to be around. When I decided to put a stop to their tantrums and disruptions, I knew I needed to think long-term. So I decided to get to know them. And I mean, really get to know them. I created team-building lessons where they would get a leading role and I started praising them for every single little thing they did right. And after a few more uncomfortable occurrences, it worked. They saw me as someone who likes them and in turn, they wanted to keep up that impression in my eyes.

After many years of experience, I would now suggest you make it a priority to get to know your students on a more personal level at the beginning of the year, as this can be an important step in dealing with unruly students. By showing interest in the students' lives and getting to know them as individuals, you can build a positive relationship with them. This can help to create a sense of trust and respect among you, which can make it easier to address any negative behaviors that may arise. Additionally, by being nice to the unruly students and treating them with kindness, you can help to build the student's self-esteem and sense of belonging in the classroom.

By being friendly, approachable and respectful, you can also help to foster positive behavior in the student, as they may be more likely to want to please you and be on your good side. This can also help to create a positive classroom culture, as the rest of the class may look to the unruly student as a leader, and follow their example.

Additionally, by taking the time to understand the student's perspectives and addressing their concerns, you can help to create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for all students.

Here are a few more steps that you can take to help manage disruptive situations:

  1. Stay calm: It is important to remain calm and collected when dealing with a difficult student. Losing your temper or getting frustrated will only escalate the situation and make it more difficult to resolve. Try asking the student what they need, so that they can see that you want to help them.

  2. Set clear rules and expectations: Make sure that the student knows exactly what is expected of them in the classroom. This can help to prevent misbehavior and provide a clear framework for how to behave. I always used to create classroom rules with the students at the beginning of the year. They would have to come up with the rules, sign the poster and hang it on the wall. If there were any problems, this was the anchor we could go back to.

  3. Use positive reinforcement: When the student does exhibit appropriate behavior, be sure to praise and reinforce it. This can help to encourage the student to continue behaving in a positive way. The psychology behind this method is that it encourages the student to repeat the desired behavior in order to receive the reward. This method can be effective because it can help to build the student's self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. It can also help to change the student's focus from negative behavior to positive behavior. We all like to hear praise, especially if it doesn't happen often, which is usually the case with unruly students.

  4. Try to identify the cause of the behavior: In some cases, a student's unruly behavior may be a result of underlying issues such as stress, anxiety, or problems at home. If this is the case, it may be necessary to work with the student, their parents, and school counselors to address the underlying causes of the behavior.

  5. Use disciplinary measures as a last resort: If all else fails, disciplinary measures such as detention or loss of privileges may be necessary. However, it is important to use these measures consistently and fairly and to make sure that the student understands why they are being punished.

The key is to approach the situation with patience and understanding and to work with the student to help them learn to manage their behavior in a more appropriate way.

How do you deal with disruptive students? Share some tips in the comments, it may help others. :)

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