Handling That Tough Kid in Class


By Norman Gunter

About the author: Norman is a marketing Executive, blogger, and trainer who loves life and loves helping people, especially the internet generation

Every Teacher Has Had One

Every teacher in every school has that one ‘tough kid’ to deal with, or worse, more than one! Disciplining these kids is often in vain, they either don’t listen to directions or disturb the whole class while you are teaching. I have no doubt that every teacher will have that one story to share.

Teaching tough kids is challenge; it feels as if no matter what technique or trick you try to pull, nothing has a positive impact on their behavior. Having had the privilege of teaching some of toughest kids myself, it pushed me to grow and evolve as not only an educator but as a human being. Read through the methods below that allowed me to reduce the misbehaviors of tough kids in my class and also helped in the positive transformation of these students in often surprising ways.

Be a Mentor

During my tenure as an educator, in my experience some of the toughest students belong to homes with a rather troublesome environment. It can be an absentee parent(s), lack of resources, inconsistent housing or even violence to name a few examples of what these troubled kids have to face on a regular basis. Kids that feel neglected at their home can often act out in school in outrageous ways to get attention, whether good or bad it doesn’t matter to them. They just want their peers to show interest in their life.
Never forget the role you play as an educator, you are not only responsible for developing these kids academically, but socially as well. Make a proactive effort in showing that you care, and not just about their grades. Being a good mentor is about being available, positive, and trustworthy. A single year with a great mentor can have a lasting impact on such a kid’s life.

Make a Connection

Another aspect of being a great mentor is the ability to form connection with tough kids. Because they don’t have a positive influence in their lives, no one is there to encourage them or take an interest in their wellbeing. Start by having a conversation about their hopes and dreams. If they don’t have anything to share, try talking about their interests — music, movies, sports, food, friends, clothing, etc. Once you connect with these tough kids they will be able to relate to you.
Start off in this small manner and genuinely show that you are interested in what they’re saying. Upon making a positive connection and building some trust, you’ll be surprised at how fast they might respond to positive reinforcement and improve their behavior.

Expect Any and Everything!

Students come from a variety of different backgrounds, culture, home environment and nationalities. The methods above may not even scratch the surface with the tough kids in your classroom, but remember some kids are going to take more time to warm up to your than others. So be patient, don’t expect quick results, but if your past experience has taught you anything you better be ready to expect any and everything!


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