Five Ways to Deal with Difficult Students

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.


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