If you have one or more difficult students in your class this year, then the first week of school is especially important.
You have one opportunity to set them progressing nicely from the earliest starting point.
Which is far less difficult than endeavoring to persuade them after some time.
So what follows are six critical first-week-of-school strategies for your most challenging students.
- Pretend they’re just another member of your class.
Focusing on difficult students, checking in on them, using proximity with them, and otherwise spending more time with them than your other students are all forms of labeling.
They look around and know they’re being treated differently, which makes them feel different and confirms what they’ve learned from the teachers before you:
Treat them as other students in the class.
- Assume they can meet your class expectations.
When you treat challenging students like everyone else, they tend to behave like everyone else. Thus, it’s important that you assume that they’re just as capable of following rules.
This will affect your subconscious behavior, keep you from labeling them by mistake, and send the message that you believe in them.
This is the first step in rehabilitating their self-worth and redefining the image they have of themselves. Once they begin to believe they’re capable, improvement comes fast.
- Withhold excessive praise.
Difficult students have been praised so often and for so long that it’s lost all its meaning. Perhaps more than anything else, it tells them that they can’t do it.
They’re smart enough to realize that being the only student to get an enthusiastic “Way to go!” for pushing in their chair isn’t a complement. It’s insulting and limits their potential.
Make a point of not praising any student for common expectations. When you do praise, make it worthy and subtle, as if you expect more of the same.
- Enforce quickly and move on.
Never tiptoe around difficult students or be fearful of holding them accountable. When they do misbehave, calmly give a consequence and then walk away.
Don’t ruin it by telling them how they should think or feel or by adding a pep-talk, lecture, and the like. Give them the time, dignity, and trust to reflect on their misbehavior and choose of their own volition to be better.
- Build rapport naturally.
You can build strong rapport with difficult students by just allowing them to enjoy being a regular student. It’s such a refreshing change from their previous experiences that their appreciation alone is often enough.
It allows you to say hello or make conversation as you would any other student, and it’s easy and organic. In time, as long as you follow the advice above, the relationship will grow stronger and more influential.
- Stop the endless conversations.
There are times when you may need to speak with students who are struggling with a personal issue.
In most cases, difficult students don’t need a counselor. They need a leader and role model who sees their worth and potential and treats them as if they really can do it.
The best thing you can do is listen, let them know that you’re there for them, and express your unshakable belief that they can do hard things and overcome their difficulties.
(This article/text/quote/image are shared in good spirit to strang then school education system.)