Disruption in the classroom is detrimental to the performance of all your students. This in turn, reflects badly on you as a teacher. If you are unable to successfully carry out the school’s curriculum, then serious questions will be asked about your tenure. It is unfair that a few bad apples can ruin your job but that’s the way it is. So, it is paramount that you retain control in a calm professional manner. After all, losing your temper is almost as bad as losing control of your classroom. No one said that teaching was fair!

We all know the situation: one student interrupts either you or another student, then someone else joins in. Before you know it, the whole class is in uproar and you have a tough job on your hands restoring order. Besides being extremely rude, having the whole class talking together is a terrible reflection on you because you are supposed to be able to keep everyone in check. When such a situation occurs, stamp your authority on proceedings by telling everyone that they need to wait their turn before they speak. Tell them to come up with ideas to either build on or challenge the previous speaker. Also, don’t allow anyone to speak unless they put up their hand, it’s important to teach your class to be polite.

Although being verbally interrupted by an angry student is irritating in the extreme, pupils that manage to disrupt the class via non-verbal means are downright infuriating. They sit in their chair and shake their head in a demonstrative manner or else they roll their eyes as you speak. The first thing you can do to counteract this is to completely ignore them, focusing on the student that is speaking. Alternatively, and this is probably a better method of dealing with it, you should announce to the class that this person disagrees with what is being said and ask them if they would like to interject. This places the emphasis on them and they will not enjoy having the spotlight shone firmly on them.

No list of disruptors would be complete without the student who continuously interrupts everyone else. Instant action is needed, so tell them to be silent until the speaker has concluded their statement. After classes, take them aside and explain how their behavior is unacceptable and it needs to stop. Advise them to take a sheet of paper and a pen and write down all their ideas. When the person has stopped speaking, then can then tell the class what it is they’re thinking. This is an excellent skill and one that will serve them well in later life.

The above are yet another set of problems that will face any teacher, but experienced ones will have no difficulty dealing with them. The final article will discuss one more set of problems and offer solutions. Learning how to deal with such situations now rather than later is essential if you wish to become successful in the teaching profession.