Power Struggles? Teacher Vs Student
Aug 19, 2013 Classroom Management 2995 Views
What is a power struggle? A power struggle is the fight for power in the classroom. The typical power struggle occurs when a teacher implements consequence and a student refuses to comply to that consequence.
When a student acts out in class it is hard not to yell right away at the student especially when it is a students who always misbehaves. The best way to confront a student who misbehaves is to address the problem the first time it happens! Do not wait until the third or fourth time because by then, students already think they can walk all over you. If rules are made in the beginning of the school year to follow, students should know the consequences to their wrong actions already.
After the student is told that they did something wrong, as a teacher we need to speak with them in private so no words are not said that the teacher or student will regret in front of the entire class. It is good to do this in private so there is no power struggle created.
However, these types of problems do arouse when a teacher wants to demonstrate their power by showing that they are boss in front of the class when a students acts up. For the students' part, they want to look "cool" in front of their friends so, they might refuse any immediate punishment given to the student and even start bickering with the teacher. During this time a heated argument could escalade between you and the student. At this time as the teacher who is responsible, must stop the struggle. As the teacher we have to learn to stop even if the student wants. We will definitely need to reconvene with this student after the small dispute. We can end the power struggle by saying, "Wow, we almost got into a real disagreement there. Let's both take a breath and do discuss it later. I definitely did not mean for it to get this out of hand." Something like this should be said even if the situation did not get as out of control as it could have. We need to protect our actions and ourselves by making sure the situation does not look like you were "yelling" at the student especially if this confrontation was done in front of the entire class. These situations can lead to further dilemmas between the teacher and students.
I do not think that the student should be kicked out of the classroom before the consequence is met. This, to me, will harm the student because they will not be able to learn the information in class. They might miss important information given, and might act out on purpose just to stay out of class. The main objective of going to school is for students to learn and this will prevent that from happening when students cannot entire the class if the consequences to their wrong actions are not met.
All in all, we do not want power struggles in the classroom. We need to meet with students after class or at a different time in private if they act up to prevent power struggles from occurring in front of the class. Students should know and understand rules and consequences enforced from the beginning of the school year before even having the opportunity to misbehave in class if they are properly implemented.