As a teacher, you will come to learn that almost every classroom has at least one troublemaker. Often, those troublemakers are seeking attention, and their behavior is born out of insecurity. Dealing with a troublemaker can be difficult and frustrating but it is important to react in the appropriate manner so that troublemaking student changes his or her behavior and so that the class responds accordingly. Here are a few tips on how to deal with a troublemaker in your classroom.
- Stay in contact with the troublemaker’s parents and create a line of communication. Give them regular updates regarding their son or daughter’s behavior, whether it is good or bad. When their child does get into trouble, always let them know. There needs to be an element of trust in this relationship because this will help both you and the parents work together.
- Have troublemakers sit near you in the classroom. Doing so will curb their behavior and encourage them to not act out as often.
- Make sure that you have defined the student behavior expectations to everybody in the classroom. Defining behavior will ensure that the students understand what kind of behavior you expect from them, and if they do break your behavioral rules, they understand that the consequences apply to everybody.
- If you have to discipline a troublemaker, do so in private and never in front of the rest of his or her classmates. If you do call them out in front of everybody, you will likely gain more troublemakers in the shape of their friends.
- Try and find common ground between you and the student. If you can do this, you may be able to create a relationship, which will encourage the troublemaker to act out less.
- Most importantly, do not ever give up on a single student because this will encourage their poor behavior. Even worse though, the student will know that you have given up on them, and they will make no effort in the classroom and refuse to learn anything.
Daniel Behan is a professional in the Rochester, New York public education sector. In the past, he worked as a middle school teacher and was honored with numerous awards for his teaching accomplishments. Most recently he served as principal of a local school.
Many teachers think that they can put one over on their students from time to time for any number of reasons: convenience, ease, or simply because they think they can. The truth is, the more “real” teachers are to their students, the better they will respond to instruction and classroom rules. Time and time again, the teachers who win awards and are voted the favorite teachers of their schools are the ones who take the time to explain the true nature of their subjects and their lives to their students. Teaching is all about keeping the right amount of distance between teacher and student. Too close and students won’t see the difference between them and their teacher. Too far, and the students won’t engage. Giving incomplete information to students may be necessary at certain points in a teacher’s career, but frequently giving incomplete or, far worse, false information to students too much will erode their respect for their teachers and cause teachers to lose control of the classroom.
Students live to keep their teachers honest. They will always connect better with teachers who show them the respect of telling them the truth and being honest about their lives and their subjects. Students are very curious about their teachers, as role models they look up to. Teachers don’t have to give their life stories to students, but they should at least be honest with them whenever appropriate.
Daniel Behan of McQuaid Jesuit Middle School knows all of the secrets to keeping control of the classroom and providing students with the tools they need to succeed.
The key to getting through to any student in any classroom is to present engaging material that you care about. This is the easiest way to create interest in any particular topic, no matter how complex. If you have gotten a job teaching kids anything, chances are you are pretty passionate about that particular subject. Let your passion out in the classroom and watch your students gravitate toward that subject. If they can sense that what you’re talking about is important without you imposing any kind of authority on them, they will naturally want to work hard to understand the subject you are trying to teach. Your job is half-done before you even start grading papers.
Come to the classroom every day with energy. Kids can sense when your heart isn’t in a subject, or you just don’t have the strength that day. Whenever you can, enter the classroom with enthusiasm about your subject. Don’t just read from the book and try to force it down your students’ throat because you have to. Students will always pick up on that kind of energy every time, especially high school and middle school kids. It’s okay to go outside of the box at times when you’re trying to teach students the finer points of any subject. Chances are, the administration won’t mind you getting the students excited about physics or chemistry (as long as you don’t overdo it).
Daniel Behan of McQuaid Jesuit Middle School has been working to get students excited about world and American History for over twenty-five years.