25 Sure-Fire Strategies for Handling Difficult Students (Part 3)

When Personalities Clash . . .

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we find ourselves actively disliking one of the students in our charge. The student may be rude, disrespectful, disruptive, obnoxious, or otherwise annoying. It’s just human nature; some personalities clash. But instead of feeling guilty about our feelings, we can take positive steps to improve them, says school psychologist and teacher Shelley Krapes. Here are some of her suggestions:

22. Try to understand where the behaviour is coming from. Is the student distressed by a death, divorce, new baby, learning disability, or some other overwhelming experience? Speaking to the student’s parents or guardian may shed light on underlying causes and help you develop sympathy through understanding.

23. Help yourself manage negative feelings by reflecting on a past situation in your life where a similar conflict occurred. Discuss the situation with a friend or by writing your thoughts in a journal. Making and understanding these connections can help you let go of some of your current hostility or resentment.

24. Use positive strategies when dealing with the child. One such strategy is addressing specific behaviours with precise language that describes what needs to be done. In addition, try to seat the student near to you or a helpful student, praise the student liberally but sincerely, give the student choices to promote self-worth and feelings of control, be firm and consistent about your rules, and express displeasure with the student’s behaviour without criticizing the student.

25. Set a goal. If the situation between you and the child has not improved after two or three months of your best effort, it may be time to recommend professional/psychological/educational testing. Some problems are very complex and beyond your control.

Source: Scholastic Teacher

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