Classroom Difficulties – Dealing With Difficult Students and Parents

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Confronting difficult students in your class is not something that teachers look forward to but it is a disruption that every educator will meet at some point during their career. And then comes the possibility of difficult parents. Although these may be tough and sometimes emotional situations to deal with, it is important to stay positive.

Although this may be hard to do at times, try not to take the child’s disruptive behaviour personally. Remember that the child does not know you as a person, and is reacting the only way that they know – childishly.

Controlling your emotions is an important part to dealing with disruptive children who probably do not want to listen to an adult who is trying to reason with them. Avoid the urge to get involved in a verbal battle with them. Instead, take the problem-solving approach, and stay calm. Wherever possible, speak to the student privately away from their fellow peers, as there may be more personal problems such as family issues that are causing the disruptive behavior.

Focus working on solving the original problem, this will involve future disturbances from the same cause. And usually, if the root of the problem is discovered and resolved, then the student may offer an apology. Even if they don’t, but their behavior improves, then this is still good as they are back on the right track.

In order to try and maintain the class’ attention, try introducing some hands-on methods of learning such as educational printables or word searches that allow the children to get involved with their learning instead of simply listening to you dictate notes. This gives them something new and fresh to think about and it also keeps them alert and listening by changing their learning routine.

Positive reinforcement is also a great behavior management tool to have up your sleeve. Praise and reinforce the good behavior that you want in your class, and ignore the inappropriate behavior you wish to dispel. But remember to specify why this behavior is good and how it can help them and their fellow classmates. Praise regularly, but be honest.

Difficult and stubborn parents can be the bane of a teacher’s life. Although the idea of confronting them about a problem with their child might be terrifying, do not be afraid to assert your authority. The first step is to make an impression. Behind your desk you should display certificates of your achievements because whether people like to admit it or not, they are impressed by qualifications. Remind them that this is your class/office and that you are in charge.

While doing this, it is important to remain respectful. No matter how rude the parent may be, you must remain calm as a cool response will neutralize a toxic statement. Listen attentively to their side of the story and do not judge, accuse, argue or interrupt. Another highly effective response to an angry statement is to simply not say a word. By replying, you are giving them verbal satisfaction. If you ignore them, you are denying them the power, and plus nobody likes to be ignored.


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