We often forget that like us, students have their own issues.
Sometimes a child may not be engaging in class because of things that have happened at home, maybe they dislike the subject, maybe they had no breakfast or maybe they just hate school altogether.
There are 101 reasons why a child, even one who is normally quite engaging, checks out.
The thing is, you’ll never be able to guarantee that 100% of the time, every single child in your classroom is paying attention or feels comfortable enough to participate with what’s going on.
But, that doesn’t mean you should down tools and hunt for a different job, it just means that you need to be super strategic about what you do with your time.
Teaching has changed a lot in the past few years, something I witnessed first hand as Vice Chair of Governors in a Primary School which had an astronomically high level of children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.
Struggling to effectively manage the craziness that is us as humans leads very quickly to a whole host of emotional difficulties and eventually burnout.
The best way to ensure that your students are participating is to make sure you are bringing your A-game even when you don’t feel like it.
You could even go as far as saying kids are like dogs and they can sense your fear…
If you have a class you hate teaching because it’s never fun, they never get your jokes and they always look like their eyes are glazed over then chances are, you’re probably bringing all those negative past experiences to the room and helping to perpetuate the cycle of rubbishness.
“…positive classroom management and climate building strategies as a key element in developing and maintaining effective learning environments” (Skiba, Ormiston, Martinez, & Cummings, 2016, p. 120)
It’s your classroom & you have to be the one to break the cycle.
Turning this around as quickly as possible is a must.
The more engaging the classroom is, the easier it is for the students to digest the information you’re giving them and therefore they are much more likely to succeed not only academically, but also outside in the real world (Skiba, Ormiston, Martinez, & Cummings, 2016).
So, what can you do when your classroom has gone so far down the rabbit hole every lesson feels like it’s on the brink of a riot?
All children crave attention, in fact, so do all adults, it’s how we’ve survived as a species for so many years.
You are the one in charge of where this attention goes & what for.
You can choose to focus on the negative, on those who ‘need’ your time because they don’t shut up, or you can simply ignore the ones being disruptive and focus your attention on those who actually require your assistance, are working hard and are invested in learning.
I get it, you’re now thinking – I can’t ignore someone who is shouting, screaming or being abusive…
& I would genuinely say, it depends on how disruptive they’re being.
If they’re jumping up and down on tables, throwing things around then you’ll absolutely need to have them out of the class as quickly as possible.
But, if they’re just saying things under their breath, refusing to participate or being a douche-bag then ignore them & keep ignoring them until they stop.
Once they’ve stopped ask them to pop to your classroom at break, lunch, afterschool whatever time is appropriate and have a conversation with them.
Find out what’s going on and how you can help them feel more comfortable in your classroom.
When we come from a place of peace, love and understanding we can literally change the world.
Gandhi did it on a massive scale.
No child is so broken that they can’t be supported, guided and coached into becoming a happy, healthy adult.
We just need to change our own perceptions of the child in front of us & that can’t happen unless we talk to them.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t going to happen instantly.
But it does happen quickly.
Start by ensuring your classroom facilitates:
If you don’t believe in their ability to be an amazing person, how will they ever believe it’s possible?
This is hands down the most important thing any teacher can do.
Believe they can change & they will.
When you believe they can change, you behave differently towards them, this then gives them the opportunity to behave in a different way, and in a matter of weeks they’ll be turning into the student you want them to be.
Our subconscious rules our thoughts, behaviours and actions & our subconscious is ruled by our beliefs.
Sometimes the things going on in your student’s lives are more complicated than we can even comprehend.
Roughly 1 in 10 are struggling with depression or anxiety, which will have an immensely negative impact on their ability to participate.
Knowing how to tweak your lessons, your delivery and your methods to support these children is vital if they are to stay in school and reach their potential.
Use the link below to find out how we can help you identify, understand and manage pupils who are struggling with depression and anxiety without relying on outside agencies –
Have a fantastic weekend & I'll be right back here Monday busting the myths that surround the longevity depression & anxiety.
See you then x Katie x
Ediger, M. (2013). MANAGING THE CLASSROOM: A VERY SALIENT RESPONSIBILITY IN TEACHING AND LEARNING SITUATIONS IS CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT. Education, 134(1), 15-18. Retrieved September 14, 2018
Schssler, D. (2009). Beyond Content: How Teachers Manage Classrooms to Facilitate Intellectual Engagement for Disengaged Students. Theory Into Practice, 48, 114-121. Retrieved September 14, 2018
Skiba, R., Ormiston, H., Martinez, S., & Cummings, J. (2016). Teaching the Social Curriculum:. Theory Into Practice, 55, 120-128. Retrieved September 14, 2018