As already mentioned in the last article, you are not allowed use physical means to overcome any problems with your students. This means that you have to be something of a diplomat. We looked at dealing with students who tried to undermine you, bullies and aggressive students. Yet these are just the tip of the iceberg, with a plethora of other issues causing heartache for teachers and ensuring that the rest of the class cannot learn. The bottom line is that you are charged with making sure your pupils learn and are ready for the world and if you cannot deal with unruly aspects, you are failing in your job.
Dictators are not just despotic rulers of faraway lands. They sadly exist in every American classroom and are a nightmare to deal with. Just like tyrannical teachers are the bane of every student’s existence, a pupil that tries to impose their will on the classroom is a headache you can do without. They will order the rest of the class around with no regard for your authority whatsoever. You need to nip this behavior in the bud before it gets out of hand. Tell them that they are a dictator and get them to rephrase this statement in the first person. Turn the class against them but involving them in the process. Soon, the dictator will realize that no one is following them and will fall back into line.
It is a frustrating experience when you have a student that doesn’t look like they could be bothered. Admittedly, there are many pupils who probably don’t want to be there but they at least make an attempt to hide it and even to learn. Those who openly look bored and are no paying attention need to be dealt with. Otherwise, other students will see that the lazy pupil is getting away with doing nothing and follow suit. Such behavior can spread like a virus if you’re not careful. Ask them a question, then swiftly ask someone else to let them off for now. You don’t want to humiliate them after all. Take them aside after class and try to ascertain why they are not getting involved in class.
Then you have the moaner. These are students whose only participation in class involves them complaining either about the subject or the way it’s being taught. They never have anything positive to say and they try to bring down the collective mood of the classroom. To deal with this, ask that student to write down their complaints and promise that they will be looked at in the next class. Ask them to come up with a solution and paraphrase their negative comments. Depending on how you paraphrase, the sheer negativity of the statement may shock the student into mending their ways.
Yes, the list of bad student behavior seems to be never ending but a good teacher will find a way to deal with everything. The next article will look at further ways and means of dealing with troublesome students, so if you have no knowledge when it comes to sorting out tricky classroom situations, then you need to read on.