You are at your relief teaching gig and you have this ripper of a lesson prepared. You’re excited and in the groove. Your teaching strategies include the orientation phase.
All eyes are on you. Kids are glued to your every move. You're on FIRE!
And then it happens.
It’s a special moment. And so much fun. This is why you love relief teaching. Effective teaching strategies that you have refined are blistering. You are on the pinnacle but just before you get there some boofhead - one of your disruptive students - calls out “Hey, my pencil just broke and I ....."
Wamp wamp waaa . . .
Blasted kids. No doubt about it. Disruptive students are momentum killers.
These disruptive students want the attention turned back the THEM!
And although you’ll grit your teeth, keep your frustration in check, gather yourself, and soldier on like a pro, it’s just not the same.
Your teaching strategies must now focus on these ratbags rather than the kids who deserve your attention.
These disruptive students and their bloody interruptions can profoundly impact on effective teaching strategies and your ability to motivate and inspire your students.
And quite frankly, I suspect (actually I know) they interrupt you on purpose.
If you are to do your job well, there is no way around it: you must rid your classroom of student interruptions.
Try these 3 ten second teaching strategies to manage these interruptions.
1. Make eye contact.
When a student interrupts, it’s easy to fall into the trap of answering or responding to the interruption straight away.
But it is not one of the most effective teaching strategies. You know what will happen if you do.
It's like opening the flood gates.
You have just bred more disruptive students to manage!
You are, in effect, granting permission to anyone and everyone to barge in and interrupt whenever they feel like it.
So when one of these kids interrupt you, the most effective teaching strategies include not saying a word.
Instead, make calm but steady eye contact. There is no need to display your obvious displeasure.
Don't glare. Control your nose flaring. Breath slowly. Hold their stare.
One of the most effective teaching strategies for this situation is to PAUSE. Don't say a word. Count to 10 or 3,564,275 depending on your frustration level - and we all know relief teaching can be THAT frustrating.
Continue eye contact to allow the weight of the interruption to sink in.
Let these disruptive students come to their own conclusion that their behaviour has caused a problem to you and the OTHER kids.
A brief pause also underscores the impoliteness of interrupting anyone in your classroom.
This strategy will demonstrate your feelings to every student in the room, without having to spell it out for them.
It will also demonstrate to the other boofheads who may be waiting to interrupt themselves.
3. Follow Through Calmly.
When relief teaching, you really need to respond to inappropriate behavior.
So after pausing, allow disruptive students a moment of reflection.
Move On - Take Charge - You have Won!