Top Tips for Self-Control When Teaching Challenging Students
Teaching can be a very fulfilling and enjoyable occupation. It is, however, also filled with a lot of challenges. The workload can be high, the hours long, the course material may be difficult, and the students themselves can make a lot of difficulty for the teacher. As most teachers will attest there will be students who are difficult to deal with. They can be unmotivated, distracted, tired, or even purposefully disruptive. Many teachers have quit the profession because of unruly classes. Many more teachers have lost their temper and ruined a class because of this. There are, however, many ways to manage unruly students. Sometimes, they even become the very best students.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Gregory M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Considering Anticipated Problems
The very best thing to do is to get ahead of the problem before it even becomes a problem. The easiest way to do this is to have a class that is appropriate and engaging for your students. To find out what level your students are at you can use a level test. After this has been administered you can use a diagnostic test to see what your students need to learn in your class. With these results, you are much more likely to teach to the appropriate level. The students won’t be overwhelmed from a level that is too high and they won’t be bored from going over material that is too easy for them. This in itself will go a long way to keep challenging behavior from even appearing.
Also Read: 5 Big Problems for English Learners in Beijing, China
Level of Engagement
Another way to get ahead of challenging behavior is to ensure that your class is engaging. This can be done by making use of a lot of pair work and group work. You could also include games when appropriate to make the class more fun. Another way to ensure that a class is engaging is to teach topics that are of interest to your students. Not all topics will interest all students, but by teaching a variety of topics you can keep most of the class engaged.
Now, even with the best-laid plans challenging behavior can still arise. So, what do we do now? First off, it is very important to keep your calm and observe what is happening. It is very easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and simply lose your temper. This can be catastrophic for the class. If you stay calm you may be able to see what caused the behavior. Is this particular student understanding the material? Did you do something that perhaps made them feel that they were not being included? Is there something going on in their home life that may be affecting them? If you can see what is causing the disruption, you will be able to deal with it more appropriately.
Also Read: Can I make money as a private tutor while teaching English abroad?
Setting up Clear Rules
Another way to deal with challenging behavior is to have clear rules in place with clear cut consequences for breaking those rules. You could have a point system for receiving prizes. Perhaps, they start to lose points for disruptive behavior. It is important to talk about the class rules on the very first day of class. It is always preferable to start a little too strict and later ease off than starting relaxed and having to gain control later.
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So, as you can see there are many ways to deal with a disruptive class. You can make sure the class is at an appropriate level. You can make your classes engaging and fun. And you can have clear cut rules. These are just a few ways to help alleviate problem behavior but should go a long way in helping you alleviate difficult behavior. So, with these in place you are more likely to have a long and fulfilling teaching career.
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