Teachers: Dos And Dont's For Handling Difficult Students

Teaching is a fulfilling and challenging profession; it's not just about coaching academic modules but molding young individuals to become well-mannered and highly functioning contributors of the society.

Students come from a variety of culture, capabilities and home environment. With the vast diversities in background, it is inevitable to have conflict or misbehavior in the classroom. Sometimes, these acts of mischievousness are started from the same student or group of students.

Every teacher would have his or her own story to share about having a "difficult student" in class. Some teachers frustratingly share about heaps of failed techniques for correcting the behavior. Teachers, here are some dos and don'ts for handling difficult students:


1.  Start From A Clean Slate.

Emphasize to the child that past misconduct does not equate to future misbehavior. Sometimes these children feel hopeless for change because of the predetermined labels against them. Explain to the child that starting from a clean slate is greatly possible and that you believe in the positive change that the child is capable of.

2. Encourage Not Reprimand.

Some of the toughest kids have difficult situations outside of school, like the lack of attention at home that they start acting out to draw attention towards them. Be more proactive than reactive with giving the child your attention; do not wait for misbehavior instead grab opportunities of praise.  Scholastic.com writes, "Focus on recognizing and rewarding acceptable behavior more than punishing misbehavior."

3. Establish Connections.

Attempt to comprehend where the misbehavior is coming from; there might be circumstances outside your classroom that is bothering the child. Get to know the student, establish a connection beyond academic lessons, and find a common ground of your interests. Once trust is built, it would be easier for the child to open up concerns to you.


1. Take It Personally.

Smart Classroom Management states, "When you let students get under your skin and you lose emotional control, even if it's just a sigh and an eye roll, you become less effective." Don't take the misbehavior personally; instead, understand why it is happening and focus on what you can do to lessen or stop it.

2. Argue Or Question. There is no point in arguing or questioning the accountability of a difficult student, it will only make the situation more stressful for both of you and the other students in the room. Focus on working together for problem-solving strategies instead of finding who to blame.

3. Give Up. This is the most important thing that teachers must bear in mind. Some of the adults now might have been a difficult child at some point. As the current role models, teachers should never give up; it might only be phase for the child or might be a cry for help. Teach Hub mentioned, "The negativity may be a defense for something deeper."

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