I've had a couple of experiences with children and teenagers' bad behaviour in class. I've been able to cope with it rather well. I'd like to ask you teachers what do you usually do when you're facing students who don't want to learn or that are trying to discredit you in any way. Well, you know, they are children and you have to be always smarter than them, but there are some days when you just can't.
Any ideas or suggestions?

Emotion: smile
I hear you, Novalee! Emotion: smile

I've taught adults mostly.
I can't say I have much experience in teaching young children, but I still teach adolescents.
Can I ask you what discipline problems in particular you have in your classroom? In my country, education is turning out to be a dangerous field, and teaches and endangered species.
You'll read the most astonishing news in newspapers, often. A young child took a gun to school and shot a teacher. An adolescent stabbed one of his teachers. Of course, this goes beyond our "ol' discipline problems", but it does happen here. Many young students seem to have lost respect for knowledge, education and teachers; and some days you wish you had stayed in bed!
It's difficult to come up with a solution for all the problems that may arise in a classroom and, after a long teaching career, I am still trying to figure out how to deal with certain problems effectively. As if that were not enough, new different problems appear all the time.

You mentioned two specific problems in your post: students who don't want to learn, and students who try to discredit you.

The latter has never happened to me in a classroom, so I consider myself lucky. It has happened here in the forums, though. But, if you are a teacher, and a good one, you shouldn't let that bother you. I mean, I agree that it's not nice but, eventually, the person trying to discredit you will show their true colours. They don't have the knowledge, the tools, the experience or the degree you have. And, obviously, they don't have much common sense or willingness to learn. Some people will question everything and everyone, and we as teachers should take it seriously only in terms of how it affects the normal "flow" of things in the classroom. The sad part of this is that such peopoe can influence other students (probably the least self-confident ones) and have a really awful effect on their learning. That is the worst part of this problem, in my opinion, and the most difficult to deal with.

Now, students who don't want to learn is a very common problem in my country, in all levels of education. They lack motivation (what is called "intrinsic" motivation) for several reasons. Probably that will vary in each culture. In Argentina in particular, there are too many people who don't consider education important. The problem here starts at home. We teachers I always say are not babysitters. I didn't spend 5 years in a university only to become a nanny. I expect the students I see every day to have received, at least, some basic education at home regarding manners, a positive attitude to learning, etc. But then I find adolescents who don't seem to understand that when I say "sit down" I mean they have to put their bottoms on the chair, not on the table!! Or others who will never take "no" for an answer, just because they are used to doing anything they wish at home.

This is something sad to say, and the fact that it's true makes it even worse: our governments (not just the present authorities, we have a long history of "wrongdoings" in Argentina) want to make each new generation more ignorant than the previous one. So everything and everyone seems to be plotting against education. An ignorant people is easier to rule. I teach a foreign language, and that is my main concern. As I've said, I refuse to babysit my students. But I do have some sort of "hidden agenda": through the teaching of a language, I try to develop "critical thinking skills" in my students. I must say that I sometimes fail miserable... but I keep trying.

Tell me something about education in your country, and about the problems with your students and how you deal with them?


Miriam you sound kind of annoyed. Has any of your students been disrespectful to you? Its hard for me to believe they have and I am sure you motivate them really well. I hope this doesn't sound rude to you but maybe you are being too demanding or it might just be that the instructions you gave them to do the exercise were not clear enough. Emotion: tongue tied
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The problems are almost the same. The children are being effected by many things our life. Unfortunately TV is the most important factor for our children's behaviour. And they get many behaviours from their friends good or bad. We as teachers cannot solve the problem easily. Because we are a small part in this problem.

But as many teacher says we have to be patient, like teaching and children. We should be aware that these are our future. The future is in our hands. We cannot ignore them. Even one children that we can teach to be a good person is a benefit for our world.

Our salaries are very low. I earn 500 USD for example but I know that our job is very important. We are the architect of the future world. I love teaching (although it is not my real profession) and I always try to be patient towards my students (even more patient than my daughter and son)....
Well, what an interesting thread! (At least for me).
I quite agree with both of you, Miriam and Hoca. I'll answer Miriam first.
The discipline problems we have in the Spanish classes are much the same you mentioned. It varies from children to teenagers. A children can as much as have a tantrum because he can't accept a NO for an answer. But I think that kind of behaviour comes from their homes. More and more parents are becoming sort of permissive with their children. Some of them spoil their child by making him or her get used to have everything they want or ask for. But I can deal with that: I usually try to make him or her see that this behaviour is not fair for the rest of the children. Children are usually fond of fairness and they like to be included in the group.
With teenagers we have the same problem about 'intrinsic motivation' and the lack of it. Very few students see the importance of learning (English in this case) and some of them seem to be ghosts in class: they don't speak a word (in English, I mean), they don't complete exercises, they don't ask a question, they seem to be anywhere but the class. Then we have the ones who spend the class chatting to a friend or telling you that they are "too tired to read aloud a sentence", as a girl told me just two months ago. These are examples of the variety of behaviour problems that I have.
It's more difficult for me to deal with them. I haven't got these problems with the children. But when it comes to adolescents, I'm never sure how to figure it all out. That's why I posted this question, I'm curious about how other teachers do it. I agree with you: I am not a babysitter and I also try to teach them some 'critical thinking skills', and the ones who are really interested in learning are the ones who succeed in developing SOME skills.

Hoca, you made a very important point in your post: children are the future. We must take care of our children if we care for the future. I completely agree with you.

P.S. A (f) for all the teachers in this forum.
I am so glad you wrote this post. I agree with you that it's easier to manage with children than it is with adolescents, sometimes it is really difficult to cope with them. I particularly don't like the idea of them having everything they want because this is a harsh world and they will have to come to terms with frustration sooner or later in their lives. I should think education is highly important as it gives them a different way of approaching the world, I would say it is a nice tool to help them analyse the world we live in. However, apart from that I think they should find something they really enjoy doing and that makes them happy. Gosh, no nuances in this post. Please, tell me if I got carried away.
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Emotion: wink No, maj, you didn't get carried away. You are quite right when you say that "they will have to come to terms with frustation sooner or later". I get very sad when I see a frustrated child but, as French people say,c'est la vie, and they'll have to learn that life is not easy. But I also make sure that they know that there's always someone to help them in these situations.
It's certainly rewarding when you see a child that is enjoying so much learning English. I always feel proud when I come accross this type of student, but it's not always the case.
Well, now I guess it was me who got carried away from the topic. Any ideas to cope with bad behaviour in class? It usually happens that, when I have no other choice that to make the child write lines, I sometimes feel bad for giving punishments. The rest of my colleagues say that this is not a bad thing, that they must learn some discipline. What do you think about this? Is this type of punishment necessary in some situations?
I totally agree with you on that it is important to help students when they get frustrated, I hate to see a frustrated child as well but if you help them reason if you help them to see the way to solve the problem you have taught them to be strong, to use that strategy later on. I am not sure about my ideas about punishment, I'll think about them and post them later, however I think discipline is necessary to attain certain goals but I would also say it depends on different personalities. What do you think?
To stop bad behviour isn't easy, but maybe if you try to be on there level. If you have a mixture of being fun and serious the students will have a boundary and will respect you for being their friend and teacher. Children get bored easily and are easily distracted. Some of my students are naughty and I have a talk with them. Luckily the students in my class just try to be the class clown and they know the boundary of when they can have a joke with the teacher and when they have to work. I teach a mixture of adults, primary school children and nursey. The teenagers who are naughty try to talk to them as a friend and not an authourity figure. Everyone likes to be treated as an equal. I found it hard when I first walked into a classroom full or screaming children, I couldn't get them to be quiet, I felt my confidence of being a good teacher slipping away. I'm sure you are not a bad teacher and I don't think you should blame yourself and the way you teach. If your students have a good level of english then maybe try discussion topics on what teenagers would talk about. They may show respect for you for understanding what they would like to talk about. Every class has bad students and its usually a problem with the student not the teacher.

Hope this helps you
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