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Dealing with Difficulty: 5 Ways to Handle Challenging Students

March 21, 2017

We all have been there and it seems to happen every school year despite our best efforts and repeated prayers. Students are placed in our classroom who become or already are habitual troublemakers. Taking into consideration the fit throwers, the eye rollers, and the no sayers, this post is for all you teachers who struggle to reach and ultimately teach those children.

Here are 5 tips on how I cope with these difficult students –

1.) Clearly Defined Expectations & Consequences

This is the most important thing that you can give your challenging students and the rest of your class. Classroom expectations should be visible, easily understood by your students and reinforced whenever necessary. Consequences should be established but not necessarily always shared with your students (it’s sometimes wise to have a few unexpected tricks up your sleeve).

2.) Consistent Contact with Parents:

Keeping parents in the loop is a must. It is important for not only the parents to realize that you are taking a vested interest in their child but also letting the student know that you and their parents are on the same team. An email, a phone call or even a quick note home on both good AND bad days will move mountains in the long run.

3.) Sympathize with the Student

Validating a student’s feelings does not mean that you agree with them or their actions. It does help however confirm to them that you know that their feelings are real, honest, and normal. More times than not, students just want to be heard and understood. 

4.) Stop Bargaining & Arguing

Challenging students are often times well versed in the art of manipulation and banter. Indulging this will only increase the likelihood that said students will repeat the offense and later try and argue their way out of a consequence. Be firm and always follow through. 

5.) Never Give Up

Bottom line… no child is ever worth giving up on. Hang in there. Be consistent and lean on your family, colleagues and loved ones on those tough days. 

Until next time teacher friends, keep changing the world and stay positive!

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