> The Key to Successful Classroom Management: Teach Teacher Interaction Skills to Students Now – We Sunny

The Key to Successful Classroom Management: Teach Teacher Interaction Skills to Students Now

Virtually every school expects students to interact
appropriately with teachers. However, most schools
have no formal, written-down plan to train students
to have acceptable teacher interaction skills. Years
ago, families more reliably prepared their offspring
to respond appropriately to teachers. Unfortunately,
that is no longer the case; many youngsters are rude,
disruptive, defiant, and disrespectful.

Recently at some of our live workshops around the
country, we have been hearing a lot about student
misconduct that is becoming far more serious
than ever before. Each spring around this time, our
Live Expert Help page
(at our site, link below) begins to generate
rather desperate requests for help from teachers who
report being increasingly unable to control their
classroom. Based on some of the comments in our live
workshops, and from requests for Live Help, it seems
important to recap what is acceptable behavior in the
classroom. It also seems like a good time to review
how to maintain control over seemingly uncontrollable
students. Here are the top questions on these topics
that we have been getting at our workshop and via our
Live Expert Help Page.

Q:
I have male students who are not just touching female
peers inappropriately, but me too. What do I do?

A:
This is an example of the increasingly inappropriate
behavior being reported by teachers. This type of
misconduct rises to a whole new level.

First, the conduct you describe is far beyond
what any teacher should tolerate in a classroom, but
it is important to note that this behavior is quite
likely also illegal as that type of sexual
harassment is not usually legally permissible.

Second, you are describing a situation that is
extremely unsafe for you and your female students.
Your first responsibility as a youth professional is
always safety. This dangerous situation can not
continue. You need to seek help immediately from your
principal or other resource.

Third, whenever a classroom or group of young
people is utterly out of control, it is usually
quite difficult to re-gain control. Because of that,
we usually strongly recommend that the problematic
class or group be terminated– at least as far as
your young people are concerned– and a new class
or group initiated in its place. It is far easier
to start again than to clean up a situation that
has deteriorated to the point that you describe.

In the future, we strongly recommend that you set
much higher, tighter standards, and force yourself
to adhere to them. If you are unsure how to enforce
higher standards, get training from us or another
source right away. Our live and recorded Breakthrough
Workshop gives immediate help: 800-545-5736 or
http://www.youthchg.com/live.html. You can always
ease up if you start off firm, but it can be nearly
impossible to tighten up if you start off being loose.
When you are unsure of how to react, always err
towards being too firm. Have high expectations
for conduct. You can easily ease up if your firmness
is unnecessary or too extreme. Your situation is
extremely unlikely to get better, and is quite
likely to worsen because there are no “brakes” being
offered to stop or slow the inappropriate contact. Don’t
wait until a tragedy happens to take action; get
help today.

Q:
My students have no clue how to act reasonably
towards teachers. What can I do?

A:
Before you expect teacher interaction skills, you
must teach them. You wouldn’t expect math skills
until you taught those skills; the same is true with
teacher interaction skills. To determine what skills
to teach, you can start by making a list of the
problems you are seeing. You can include problems
like disrespect, verbal abuse, non-compliance, and
so on. Next, prioritize that list, putting your
biggest concerns at the top. We recommend that
safety concerns top the list. Next, identify a time
to provide instruction to your students on the first
few items on your list. You can use entire class
periods or the start of the class. It doesn’t matter
where you put the training, but that you do it. You
will probably be delighted with the results, but be
sure to include motivating students to accept the
training. Our site has engaging lessons so you don’t
have to develop ideas on your own.

Q:
I have a lot of students who just seem to hate all
teachers. Am I right that there is not a lot that
I can do to change that?

A:
Actually, we have a lot of wonderful student attitude
adjustment devices that can re-shape the way these
youngsters view and interact with teachers. Here is
an intervention that is a favorite in our live
workshops. Create a little manual, like those small
booklets that come with a new computer or a new jacket.
Call it “A Student’s Guide to the Care and Heeding of
Teachers,” or something similar. In the manual, you
can put humorous text on “What to Do When Your Teacher
Doesn’t Work Right,” and “How to Get Your Teacher to
Do What Your Want.” Next, hang the manual from a
thread, and attach it to your sleeve. Inevitably, a
student will soon ask: “What’s that hanging off
your sleeve?” You can respond with feigned surprise at
discovering the manual, and then read it to your
students. What a fun and unusual way to begin a dialogue.
If you don’t want to have to make your own manual, you
will find a very funny, nicely illustrated one
in one of our books. Contact us for help locating it if
you want to save time looking around our site for it.

Q:
What can I do about the constant interruptions from some
students during class?

A:
Have you given your students a recommended number of times to
talk out per class? We find in our workshops that most teachers
haven’t provided any quantifiable standard for students to
follow. In essence, that means you are asking students to
adhere to an unspecified standard. A lot of your students may
lack the ability to determine this standard on their own. The
first step must be providing a quantifiable standard. Also, be
sure that you teach specific skills like hand raising if you
require it. If the interruptions persist, you can require
students to turn in a chip or marker to talk. If you recommend
students talk 8 times per class, give out 8 chips.

There is a
newer version of this last intervention, which you may prefer.
Bring a large TV remote control to class, and tell students
that you have to point the remote at them to turn on their
volume before they are permitted to speak. Students often adore
this fun intervention, and it can ease any power struggles that
were occurring. You can even put a student in charge of the
remote control, which will quickly become a highly coveted job.
Students can even earn the opportunity to do that job by talking
out properly during class. A chronic problem can become
a non-problem.