Remember Why You’re There
In the heat of the moment, many teachers can forget why they are there in the first place. With students misbehaving and throwing insults at them, it’s easy to forgive teachers for wondering what compelled them to take on such a job.
During these times, it’s important for teachers to take a deep breath and remind themselves why they are there. For most teachers, they entered into the profession because they had a passion for teaching and a desire to make a positive difference in students’ lives. As with life, there will be curtains ups and downs during the course of the job. When a rowdy student makes you question why you do what you do, take a few seconds to remind yourself that this one student doesn’t negate your reasons for teaching. In fact, students like this generally aren’t the norm.
Keep a Level Head
One of the most important things you need to do when a student is misbehaving is to keep a level head. Constant goading can make it very easy to sink down to their level and snap right back at them. In this situation, that is not something that a teacher should do.
As a teacher, you are responsible for the entire class. Your behavior sets an example for the other students. If you sink down to the level of a rowdy student and engage them with the same amount of hostility, other students will pick up on your behavior. Such an interaction may even encourage other students to lash out.
Teachers must always keep a level head, even in the face of such antics from students. By keeping calm and collected, you are able to clearly demonstrate to the class who is in charge and as a result, you get to control the situation.
This may sound like a trivial trip but it’s actually very important. When someone is directing a lot of negativity at you, it’s easy to start crumbling. You may feel like you’re being personally attacked and that could take a huge toll on your self-confidence.
The key to maintain your composure in situations like this is to stay calm. In order to do so, you have to breathe. When a student starts misbehaving, focus on your breath.
By focusing on your breathing, you’ll also encourage yourself to change the focus of the interaction. The student may be spewing negativity but if you’re focusing on your breath as you inhale and exhale, your focus is not directly on the brunt of the attack. This will lessen the blow of any of the words that the student is directing towards you.
Diffuse the Situation
Another excellent way to deal with misbehaving students is to attempt to diffuse the situation. If a student is given the opportunity to ‘go off’ on a negative tirade in class, they will have a whole audience watching them. Instead, remove the student from the classroom as quickly as possible.
Ask them to step outside so that you may have a word with them. By removing their audience, you immediately remove some of their power. Once outside, you can attempt to have a rational conversation with them. If however, they are still being hostile and verbally attacking you, refer the student to a supervisor or to someone in the administration. That way, a higher up can deal with their hostility leaving you to focus on your class.
Learn to Disengage
For many teachers, it becomes hard not to take such attacks personally. After all, all of that hate and negativity is being directed straight at them. In these sorts of situations, what is a teacher supposed to do?
The key to maintaining your sanity and ensuring that you don’t feel personally victimized by such attacks is to disengage. Know your worth and remember that the negativity being directed at you is not worth being brought down over. While it is natural to want all of your students to like you, it is highly unlikely that you will go through your entire career without meeting at least one student who is less than kind towards you.
When this happens, remind yourself that their words and actions are in no way a representation of who you are. Practice disassociating from their negativity by reminding yourself that everyone has their own issues and this student is just lashing out at you.
Whenever a situation like this presents itself, just remind yourself that ‘this is not me’.
Teachers often become easy targets for students who feel the need to lash out. In these situations, it is extremely important to not allow yourself to take these incidents personally. If you do, your work and your confidence could seriously suffer. Instead, remind yourself why you became a teacher and that there will always be a few troublesome students. Be secure in the knowledge that you are good at what you do and ultimately, disengage from any negativity from students. At the end of the day, not everyone is going to like you, and you’re under no obligation to ensure that they do.