Classroom Management Part III - What to Do When All Your Students Hate
Feb 8, 2010 Classroom Management 4007 Views
You have survived Jimmy's temper tantrum, Stacy's rolling eyes, and Mary's comment about your "ugly" sweater. You have endured your homeroom, where Juan and Sara called your activity "stupid." And you have suffered through emails in which Keesha, Marcelo, and Tony--each in separate messages--called your grading unfair.
It is 3:30 PM. The school day is done. You pick up your dented armor--grade book, coffee mug, laptop, self-worth--and stumble out of the classroom. You feel exhausted. Defeated. And you are certain that all your students hate your guts.
This, the third in a series of eight articles about classroom management, will help you deal with the all-my-kids-hate-me phenomenon. Use the advice below to repair your armor and your ego.
DO THE MATH. Count the number of students who you feel "hate your guts." Divide this by the number of students you teach. Is the result less than fifty-percent? Twenty-percent? Do the names on this list change with the passing weeks? This bottom-line approach will help you recognize that you have a good rapport with the majority of your students.
GET CLINICAL. The best surgeon is not the guy with the most followers on twitter. The best neurologist is not the woman with the most friends on facebook. Just as other professions, teaching is not a popularity contest. It is a job. Some parts of that job--such as giving consequences or low scores--may make you unpopular with some students. Remember: an effective and responsible teacher does not Ms. Congeniality make.
MAKE REVISIONS. If you do the math and the percentage of students who "hate your guts" is high, then consider revising some part of your approach. Seek advice from other teachers and administrators. Perhaps the way you ask your students to quiet down needs modifying. Perhaps the way you grade essays or presentations can be tweaked.
BE A TEACHER. Set up conferences with students. Be sure to focus on classroom goals. Get information from the student about why the behavior is occurring. ("Jimmy, why did you fall to the ground and kick the desk?") Discuss the behavior in relationship to class expectations ("Mary, calling a person's clothing 'ugly' is disrespectful. In our class, we respect each other."). Make the situation a teaching moment for you and your students.
You cannot please all of your students all of the time. In other words, an occasional tantrum or rolling of the eyes by a few students does not mean your entire class hates your guts. Students are human. As such, they have emotional responses to their experiences. Using the tips above can help you "depersonalize" these responses and thus avoid feeling disliked or defeated.
Look out for upcoming articles in this series, including the following
- How to Deal with the "Problem" Student
- Tackling Talkers, Whisperers, and Note Passers
- How to Avoid Loosing Students, and Your Mind, on a Field Trip
- Five Ways to Win Your Students' Trust, and Their Hearts
- Stay Sane. Stay Organized