What if helping out one student could help your entire classroom? For teachers, this sounds like a dream come true. And it all comes down to focusing on the disrespectful students.
These are the students who can easily disrupt an entire class. However, with the right teaching tips and tricks, you can help the most difficult students and get back on track with teaching.
Keep reading to discover ten tips for dealing with your problem students!
1. Contact Parents of Disrespectful Students
Sometimes, the old ways are the best ways. And a great way to deal with disrespectful students is to contact their parents.
This may improve behavior in the short-term simply because the disruptive student knows that punishment can extend beyond the classroom and into their home life.
And in the long term, it lets you establish a working relationship with the parents to ensure that all of you get to the root of the student’s disrespect and solve it together.
2. Distinguishing Disruptions and Disrespect
It’s important for any teacher to distinguish between disruption and disrespect. Otherwise, you’ll end up doing more harm than good.
Sometimes, a child disrupts your lesson because they are a child. Things like poor attention spans and mood swings come with the territory. Or you may have students with autism and not even know it.
If it’s only that kind of disruption, you may consider ignoring it from time to time. Or you may find ways to redirect the student’s energy and attention to something else.
However, if a student is deliberately challenging your authority, then you must deal with such a problem very swiftly. Otherwise, you can lose the respect of the entire class and any control that you might have had.
3. Offer Individual Make-Up Time
Your first instinct towards disrespectful students will be to punish them in some way. However, there is another alternative you may not have considered.
Sometimes, students are disrespectful because they do not understand the material. They are falling behind and lashing out in anger and confusion.
Ask to see the student after class and then offer them some time after school to make up work they have not yet completed. This approach offers multiple benefits.
First, it helps the student get one-on-one tutoring and attention from you, which can improve their grades. Second, it lets the two of you build a working relationship. This makes them less likely to be disrespectful in the future!
4. Make Rules Together
One of the most common causes of disrespectful students is that they are lashing out against your rules. They often feel the rules imposed upon them are unfair.
Consider an exercise where you and the students make rules together at the beginning of classes. This lets the disrespectful student feel as if he actually has some control over the class.
This feeling may be enough to make them less disruptive. And if he gets punished, he will have brought it on himself through both his actions and his own rules!
5. Don’t Escalate During Class
Let’s be real: when a kid is being a smart alack in class, your first instinct is probably to be sarcastic right back at them. However, this is a bad idea.
Many times, a disrespectful student is acting out to try to get attention. Making a big scene in class gives them exactly what they want.
This is basically why “see me after class” was invented. It lets you address the issue without an audience, which is more effective on every level.
6. Steer Them Towards Extracurricular
Sometimes, kids act up in class because they are bored. Other times, they do so because they have too much energy on their hands.
In each case, the student would benefit from some extracurricular activities. Try to steer the trouble students towards clubs or activities you think they’d like.
With any luck, they’ll channel their enthusiasm and energy into the new project. And they’ll be grateful you helped them discover something new.
7. Quick Learning vs. Disrespect
As mentioned above, the disrespectful students are sometimes simply bored. And they may be bored because they are quick learners and don’t want to wait for the others to catch up.
It may sound paradoxical, but try to put such kids in leadership positions. Make them group or project leaders, call on them to read, and so on.
They’ll enjoy showing off and feeling in control. And you’ll enjoy a quiet class!
8. Follow-Up ASAP
We’ve discussed how it’s important not to escalate things in the middle of class. However, it’s still important that you address disrespectful behavior as soon as possible.
Frankly, if you wait a few days, it encourages bad behavior. It makes the student think they’ve “gotten away with it.”
To top it off, student attention span isn’t always great. Wait a few days and they may feel you are punishing them for no good reason!
9. Offer More Hands-On Activities
Many times, disrespectful and disruptive students are what we call “kinesthetic learners.” These are the ones who learn most from hands-on activities.
Unfortunately, most school lessons benefit visual and auditory learners. This leaves kinesthetic learners feeling excluded and annoyed.
Try to add more hands-on activities to your classes (such as eLearning activities). You’d be surprised at how many problem students suddenly come to life with enthusiasm!
10. Keeping Up With Their Attention Span
As we’ve said, students sometimes simply act up out of boredom. And one of the reasons they do this is their attention span.
As a general rule, students can only provide undivided attention for about one minute multiplied by their years of age. So, a 10-year-old can pay attention for just about ten minutes before their mind wanders.
Plan your activities around this. Try to frequently change your approach to teaching often enough that it keeps them engaged.
This is a technique that both disrespectful and respectful students will love!
The Bottom Line
If you’re reading this, then you care about your students. And you care about being the best teacher you can be.