I know how it feels to be a new teacher in a challenging classroom. I was terrified and didn’t think I could survive my first year as an educator, but now I’m about to start my 10th year teaching! If you are feeling lost or overwhelmed with your class this school year, please read on for some tips that will help you get through the tough times.
I’ve learned many valuable lessons over the years which have helped me transform a difficult classroom into one of the best learning environments around. If these strategies don’t work for you, then ask someone else who is successful at what they do – chances are there’s something about their approach that will work well with your students too! And if all else fails, remember that tomorrow is a brand-new day.
Features of A Difficult Class
It’s hard to know what kind of class you’re going to get when students walk in the door. However, there are certain types/features that define a difficult class:
1. No Respect for Authority Figures
Difficult classes often lack respect for authority figures and show this through their words and actions. If a group of students doesn’t respect you, chances are they won’t listen and will likely cause trouble.
2. Cruel and Put Downs Comments
Comments like “this is too hard” and “you’re a terrible teacher” aren’t uncommon in difficult classes. That’s why it’s important to be able to handle this negativity right away by keeping the comments positive and focusing on the students that are trying.
3. Students with A Lot of Personal Problems
Oftentimes, if a student is acting out in class, it’s because of problems at home or in their personal life. Difficult classes tend to have more issues than other classes, so if you see one student acting up, there may be several students displaying similar behavior.
4. Some Students Can Be Rude To Each Other
Difficult classes may have a lot of tension amongst the students and some can be rude to each other instead of using their words positively. The negative attitudes become contagious, which is why you need to set examples from day one.
5. Majority of The Class Acts Out
Many of the students may be disruptive, and it’s up to you, as the teacher, to take charge and handle the class. If you let one student get away with something, then many more will follow suit. You’ll need to be firm and consistent if you want to change this behavior for good.
6. Lack of Motivation
Your challenging class probably lacks motivation. If students don’t want to be in your class, they’re not going to try hard enough, and this can lead to problems down the road. You’ll need to motivate them by making the work interesting and compelling.
7. Students Don’t Listen to Directions
Students who don’t listen are an annoyance, for sure, but they’re even more frustrating when you’re giving out directions. Difficult classes aren’t the best at following instructions, which is why it’s key to make sure your directions are clear and direct.
8. Some Students May Be Lazy
On top of difficulty, students being unwilling to try in class, some may be lazy. These students know you’re working hard to teach them, but they’re unwilling to put in the same effort. If these students aren’t motivated enough to try, then it’s your job to motivate them.
9. Grades Are Low
The sad truth is that difficult classes tend to have low grades. It can be discouraging when you are trying your best to teach challenging material, but students don’t seem to be getting it. Regardless of how you’re feeling, remain positive and continue to give your all in the classroom.
Step-By-Step Guide on How To Transform Difficult Classes
Do you ever feel that your students don’t want to be in class? Are they disrespecting you and not listening to what you have to say? Do they appear disinterested when you teach? In this case, it’s time to do something about it. This is a guide on how to transform difficult classes. It will provide ten easy-to-follow steps with insightful tips.
1) Build a good relationship with your students, right off the bat
If you don’t have their respect yet, then they will not care about what you are teaching them. If you engage with them and make class fun, they will respond to that better than if you treat them like young kids. Your students should see that you care about their best interests and want to make a difference in their lives – not just through class, but by getting to know them on a more personal level as well.
2) Teach how you would like to be taught
If you don’t want to be talked over, then don’t let your students do it. If you want them to listen and care about what you have to say, then you have to sit at the front of the class and engage with them. Use a variety of teaching methods that will interest them.
3) Get creative
Find ways to make learning fun, interesting, and engaging for your students. You can’t just stay in the same old boring routine with your lessons. Experiment with different teaching techniques to see what works best with your students.
4) Provide a detailed lesson plan
Have a detailed lesson plan, even when you teach extracurricular courses or workshops. In case they disagree on certain things, give clear instructions, so they will know what you expect from them.
5) Set a good example with your own actions
Your students will notice this and this is a great way to inspire them. You want to be someone that they look up to, not do the opposite of what you teach them.
6) Teach your lessons with passion and confidence
If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will? If you are excited to teach something, it shows that you care about your job. Be enthusiastic when you’re talking to them so they get excited too.
7) Treat all students equally
This is important because some may fall through the cracks and feel left out when you give preferential treatment to one group. If they feel like they’re getting special attention, then the rest of the class will get jealous and possibly resentful.
8) Grade fairly
Don’t punish one student for something another has done because that creates unnecessary tension between them and disrupts the flow in your classroom. Do not treat the whole class as if they are equal because some students need more help.
9) Connect with parents.
They want to make sure their kids are doing well in your class, so send them an email once in a while or call them. This way, you can work together to improve their child’s performance in your class.
10) Don’t take anything personally
Kids will be kids and sometimes they just get carried away and say things without thinking. Sometimes, the things that they say may hurt you, but it has nothing to do with you or how much you care about them. If a student is having problems at home, do not take it out on you. Remember, they’re just children and sometimes they can’t express their emotions properly or don’t know how to communicate their feelings.
If you try these ten steps in your classroom, then students will be more likely to listen to what you have to say. They’ll engage more with the lessons that are taught and even want to come to class because it’s no longer an “unnecessary” chore.