As an educator, you want the best for all your students. Even on days when you feel exhausted or have had difficult interactions with students, your goal is always to set them up for success. This can feel especially challenging when it feels like you have a student who perpetually disrupts and disrespects the classroom. For cases like this, you must learn how to deal with problematic students.
Let It Go
Remember that you knew you’d have days like this when you signed up. Interacting with potentially dozens of students and not knowing what else they’re dealing with can lead to your days feeling volatile. The good and bad go together. And remember that the way a student acts doesn’t always reflect on you or how you run a classroom. Young people tend to act out wherever they feel comfortable. It’s important to keep an eye on problematic behaviors and take note of them, but holding a grudge will do nothing but make a difficult situation worse. Allow and encourage your students to grow beyond their mistakes.
Keep Complaints to a Minimum
Venting to your colleagues about the day-to-day frustrations is normal and healthy, but you don’t want to go in too hard on your students. A constant stream of complaints about any child will leave an impression on your fellow teachers and may even damage any future relationship your student has with their teachers. If you need advice about dealing with a student, try not using their name to allow them a fresh start with their new classes.
This is the key for how to deal with problematic students. Understand that they may have a million things going on at home, and as a result, they’re not as focused. Young kids can deal with many big emotions inside of their little bodies, and teenagers are practically bursting at the seams with hormones. Try to have a conversation and see if you can do anything for them at school, whether allowing them a little more leniency on due dates or just giving them some advice. Lots of kids don’t know how to ask for help and are just waiting for someone to offer. Look into a life skills program to learn exercises or techniques for managing difficult emotions.
Remember why you became a teacher in the first place: to help kids: even the difficult ones. Especially the difficult ones—they need it the most. If you can keep yourself from holding a grudge, allow your coworkers to forge their own relationships with students, and listen with your heart, you will make a huge impact and get some kids through tough times.