Classroom EMERGENCY – How to deal with a Disruptive class

Classroom Management Emergency

Classroom management issues hardly ever happen at the start of the semester. They only occur after a couple of weeks or months, you don’t know exactly where you have lost your grip on the class, but before you know it they are out of control, difficult and noisy.

It’s kind of like quicksand. Somewhere after a few lessons there is one misbehavior – You are surprised but write it off as a singular incident. Then another – You think you’ve dealt with it but over the next times you see them, your class is steadily getting more noisy, more students are speaking back at you and students are ignoring you more and more. What happened to that nice class you had at the start to turn them into this nightmare?

This video is for teachers who feel like they’ve lost complete (or partial) control of their classes.

This includes substitute teachers that are walking into a wild class, and any other teachers that wants to regain control.

This is for teachers that feel like they’ve lost; if you want the full video on The Secret to Classroom Management – Check it out here.

Let’s get started.

Teaching when there is chaos around you is one of the worst feelings as a teacher. You feel overwhelmed and powerless. You’ve tried everything – Google Classroom management techniques, tried them and still, they just won’t listen. You’ve screamed, pleaded, tried the silent treatment… it works once or twice but class always reverts back to chaos. It has come to the point where you physically hate going to class.

No teacher can survive that way. Classroom Management issues is the number 1 reason why teachers leave the profession… but it shouldn’t be that way.

Most Classroom Management Books, Courses or advice only help when you first start class. The way that you share your rules and procedures, and then follow up. But since you’ve lost control, your students don’t respect you and trying to get them to change their behavior slightly, will not help at all.

What I would suggest…. Is a total restart.

You need to restart the class and shape it in a way that you see fit. You need to uproot the poison that has seeped into the students, drain it completely and begin afresh. Whatever weeds are stuck in the system you need to pluck it. This won’t be easy, in fact, it may be the most difficult thing that you’ll ever do. But if you do manage it, even just the attempt, will sculpt you into a better teacher, a stronger leader, a more capable human being.

If you fail to confront this horrible class now, you will have given up. Stop fearing those kids, stop crying the night before because you dread going to class – Fight. Confront them. Change them because they need to be changed. This isn’t you against a class of difficult students. This is you against an evil force that has invaded your classroom. As a teacher, it is your duty to save these kids from themselves. Be brave, you need to face all these problems, and sort out the problems that the troublemakers try to bring back into class.

That is your mindset – You are not a teacher anymore… You are a warrior fighting for these kids and their education.

No more pity parties. No more “I wish these kids would listen.” Grab this class by the throat (figuratively of course lol) and guide them to the way that they internally wish the class would be

Trust me when I say that these kids do not want to be out of control, they don’t want cause trouble – They are just waiting for a strong leader to guide them. To make them feel safe. And help them learn. That is your job.

Here is what you do… At night or whenever you can, write down a list of rules that you want for the classroom. These include the rules, behavior and actions you expect from the learners and the exact procedures – How do they enter, how do they behave in class, during groupwork, what is expected of them. Be very exact. Also, add the discipline plan and punishments that will be dealt. (each school should have one already, but go through it again)

Ride out the week until Friday or the last class you see them. When the students come into the class. Sit them down. Make sure they are all sitting down, they are calm and paying attention. By this point it should be hard, because they have already marked your class as an area of chaos, where it is lawless and they get away with everything. You are going to need to retrain them. Send them all out, not in a crazy angry way – Remember, you also have to be retrained. Calm and with a boss attitude – Chest high, relaxed and focused eyes. Tell them “sorry, this is not how you enter MY class. Get out. Let’s try it again. Wait with them outside then send them in. If they still can’t behave, point out the main culprits “Johny, this isn’t what we want in class. I really need to tell you something important and I can’t do it when it is too noisy. You’ll work with me, won’t you?”  They come into your class quietly and well behaved. You thinking would let his castle be disrespected?? No, so let them re enter until you are happy. They will test you but don’t let them break your resolve. Once they are inside, stand in the middle of the class, smile a little, then tell them. “Class, I am sorry I have failed you. The noise and ill-discipline in the class stops us from learning well. There have been problems because I haven’t been strict enough. From today I want us to make a change.” Hand each one a copy of the list. Go through each rule and procedure step by step. Explain what you want them to do. Also, after explaining something – point to a student and have them repeat it, that way you know they understand. Make sure to add the parts about how they are expected to answer questions, and the policy on rudeness and behavior.

Some of the students might still challenge you.

They will mumble something against you because they want the class to stay the way it is. You will not let them. You are not the same weak teacher as you’ve been before, you are not angry, but you’ve got to face the problem head on. Find the student that is most likely making causing the problem, stare them down. Keep that stare until they apologize and behave. Remember, the rest of the class is watching to see if you will fail like all the times before. Don’t.

This retraining will probably take the whole class. But even if it took a month of getting your class in order it would be worth it. Not only for your mental well-being, but also for the learning that they will experience in the future. You know that with the chaos they really aren’t learning much.

Once you have gone through rules, procedures and punishments and you are confident that they all understand. Tell your students that you want their parents to sign. Warn them to make sure it gets signed, otherwise you’ll personally let them know or something along those lines.

When students come back to the next class with the signed copy of the rules. Pin it in the front of class. Now warn them, this is the behavior I want to see. For the next several weeks you’re going to be super strict. Do not let your guard fall. At the start of every class make sure they enter in a quiet way that you prefer. Do not let them disrespect you. I also want you to give them a lecture on good behavior and what it means in class. When students enter, spend the first couple of minutes asking them personal questions to get to know them. Then, after that give them a lecture on how important it is to be well-behaved and working hard in class. During these lectures make direct eye contact with the known troublemakers and keep eye contact until they look away. It is up to you to learn how to dominate these kids… That’s what they are… Kids… And until you are sure that you are the supreme boss in there, they will try and find chinks in your armor. So become a strict, impenetrable wall.

Be very strict.

Enforce the rules and make sure it is handed out. It is not a personal vendetta against the students. Make sure to let them know that you are not punishing them, you are punishing the behavior. Work are talking with them, ask them questions and get to know them. Manipulate them however you can, sweet talk, feign hurt, but always come from the mindset of – I will never again be taken advantage of again! Know that at any moment there will be a slip up, students will act out to test you. Frequently at first, but if you handle it like a strict parent, those misbehaviors will decrease over time.

When a student acts out, give them a warning “ Johnny, what is the rule about bothering your friend?” At this point other students might chip in – Wave them away without looking, they are trying to distract you from the matter at hand.” Johnny might also say something like “Sir, it’s not my fault…” Redirect them to the rule. “That is they rule we agreed upon. Your parents signed the rules and you agreed to it. Do you understand?” If the student nods and looks away you have won. If they try and argue it out with you cut them off “Sorry Johnny, this is study time. Come see me after class and we can discuss it.” Do not give students a platform to perform on. Cut them of from their source of validation in the class.

Your aim in class is to keep the students on task for as long as possible.

It will not be easy! But, the more victories you get, the more you overcome these obstacles, they will submit, and you will become a stronger leader.

Many teachers that are lucky enough not to go through difficult classes like these would now say Eric, you are wrong. That sounds like intimidation. I say no, you were lucky. Unless you are the authority in class, students won’t respect you, and their learning will be compromised.

I hope this helps for emergency classroom situations. Please share this video with other teachers that might need to hear it. I’m Eric from Etacude and I’ll see you next time.

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