Ways to Handle Misbehaving Students

Misbehaving Students

If there is one thing that will raise your blood pressure it is misbehaving students. They will send most teachers over the edge quicker than you can say, "Stop That!"

The key issue for teachers is how to show that you are annoyed without showing that you are annoyed.

Responding to Misbehaving Students

Your body will start to show that you are annoyed with physiological signals. Your eyes will narrow, the blood pressure will rise and a slight snarl will form from your lips.

There will be shouting, demanding and while it will never happen I'm sure, but thoughts of dismemberment might subconsciously appear as  a thought bubble!

It may not be that dramatic but your emotional responses must be controlled.

As soon as emotional responses take over you have deferred control to your students. They are in control of you rather than the other way around.

When you allow emotional responses to drive your actions, you send the message to the students that your personal control is dependent on their behaviour.

The turkeys will play on this.

Showing your emotions to annoying students is like playing poker with the cards stuck on your forehead. You will never win!

The turkeys now know that when they misbehave, you as the teacher will be the one who will go berko. (Berko - scientific term for a teacher who has lost control!)

That is not good because you have just put the weapon in the hands of a turkey. These turkeys will become brazen and will continually challenge until they set you off.

This will give the teacher a feeling of powerlessness.

If you are challenged by your emotional responses you may well try to tip-toe around the classroom so that you do not challenge the students. That is not good either.

The focus of your teaching activity will be on behaviour not learning. That, unfortunately, leads to a very difficult cyclic whirlpool.

Handling Misbehaving Students

The preferred positions is for the teacher to maintain an unrelenting focus on quality learning.

Always keep the focus on learning.

Statements like, "It is unfortunate that Fred's behaviour is not helping. I will talk to him later but I am going to keep on teaching to help those who want to learn."

"Fred, you need to concentrate on your learning."

Don't deviate from that message. Keep it Simple.

As soon as you start to feel annoyed, focus on some of the engaged students in your class and start a really, REALLY positive interaction. Heap on praise (and I mean lay it on thick) for their attentiveness.

Bring an aura of positive energy (enough to baste a turkey) into the classroom.


The best way to cook turkey is slowly with lots of basting.

The best way to start from feeling annoyed by misbehaving students is to keep YOUR focus on learning.

Don't give in.

Is it easy?

No flippin' way! Trying not to rip their scrawny little throats out takes a great deal of effort.

It is worth it?


Misbehaving Students - Teach and they will come...

By all means, let these turkeys know you are displeased.

Let them know their actions will be dealt with - at a time of your choosing - not theirs!

"Fred, I am not happy with your behaviour. I will talk to you about it later. Right now I am going to help the rest of the class learn."

If you feel the need to repeat it, just shorten the details. Do not change the message.

"Fred, I will talk to you later. Right now I am helping others."

"Fred, I am helping others. Later!"

Then continue to teach.

I know Fred might continue to be a distraction, but kids can work with the TV with the volume up high, X-box going boing, boing, and their iPhone going doink! doink!

Fred is a minimal distraction in the grand scheme of things and if your lesson is so hot, they will be able to tune Fred out.

Ban Misbehaving Students 


Keep the emotions out of your equations and deal with misbehaving students like you would any other academic problem.

If you need ideas consider asking our FREE Managing Student Behaviour Courses.
Let me help you deal with your misbehaving students.


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