In this final installment of controlling your classroom, you will learn more methods of dealing with bad behavior in your classroom. The previous editions covered everything from dictators to bullies but no amount of literature can prepare you for such events until they happen. Although reading a manual telling you what to do can prepare you in some way, it cannot give you the courage and judgment to handle the problem, this is something that you will just have to learn on the job. Never be afraid to ask for advice from more experienced teachers too. In a well run school, the teachers should constantly be there for one another before you go once more into the breach.
It is certainly a test of your patience when a student saunters into the class twenty minutes late. By this stage, you have got into something of a rhythm with your lesson and this tardy individual brings your momentum crashing to a halt. Although you would love to halt the entire class and show up the latecomer, it is best to wait until afterwards so that you can get straight back into teaching. Deal with the issue after class and always start your teaching at the correct time regardless of who is missing. It is their responsibility to be on time, not yours. If you really want to instill some punctuality into them, maybe you could make them the leader of the class so that they have to be there on time. Then again, you could always threaten to punish the whole group for this individual’s tardiness. Having their class against them will soon make them mend their ways.
The ‘popular’ kids who try and show that they are cool by playing up in class need to be taken down a peg or two. They are the ones who will make sarcastic, insulting remarks when you’re trying to teach the class. Their aim is to get a rise out of their audience, the classroom, whilst making you look bad. This cannot be tolerated and don’t be afraid to punish them in front of their adoring fans. This is not to say that you should humiliate them per se, but you have to let the class know that these people are not ‘cool’ and that you’re in charge. Handing them a spell of detention may cool their jets.
Finally, we have the famous ‘teacher’s pet’. Even though there are sure to be students who you have taken a shine to because of their work ethic and high standards, you must be seen not to have favorites. You will also be helping them because ‘teacher’s pets’ are prime targets for bullies. Inform them that they don’t have to openly curry favor by sucking up to them because their academic performance is more than enough. Don’t make eye contact when they try and grab your attention in class and ensure that you never single them out for praise on a consistent basis.
So there we have it. It would be folly to suggest that this is a comprehensive guide to dealing with every situation that happens in a classroom but it is a good starting point for those who have set out on the teaching road. Over the years, you will develop your own teaching style and hopefully this will be enough to defend you from the slings and arrows of outrageous student behavior!