If you’re struggling with classroom management, then chances are you become annoyed when your students misbehave.
Your blood pressure rises. Your eyes narrow and your lips tighten. Your displeasure can be seen and felt from every corner of your classroom.
But every time you react emotionally to misbehavior, you shift control over to your students. You step out of the driver’s seat and hand them the keys. You give up the upper hand in the relationship. All before saying a word.
Because when you let misbehavior get under your skin, you communicate to anyone remotely paying attention that your peace and contentment is dependent on how they behave. And once this is established, classroom management becomes a high-altitude climb.
It becomes a whiteout on Mount Everest.
Many, many teachers have become so accustomed to the sinking, powerless feeling of being at the mercy of their students that it corrupts their every action. It causes them to walk on eggshells, to avoid dealing with misbehavior, and to accept less than what they know is best for their students.
An outsider can see this void of leadership within seconds of entering the classroom—brazen student body language, disrespectful nonchalance, and disregard for the teacher and what they have to say.
The truth is, to have the well-behaved class you really want, you must maintain your deep care and concern for your students . . . while at the same time not give a whit if they misbehave.
You must have the attitude that although you don’t wish for them to misbehave, if they make that choice, then nothing on earth will stop you from letting accountability do its good work.
So instead of taking the stress, tension, and disappointment of misbehavior upon yourself, instead of internalizing it and enduring its slow burn, you will calmly and without a second thought fulfill your promise of following your classroom management plan.
Once you cross this hurdle from taking misbehavior personally to dispassionately allowing your classroom management plan to do its job, annoyance will no longer have a hold on you.
You’ll no longer feel the roil of tension and frustration rising up in your throat. You’ll no longer tiptoe around students or endure teaching through disruptions. You’ll no longer leave for the day wrung out and dreading tomorrow.
Instead, you’ll be empowered to respond effectively to misbehavior. You’ll be empowered to calmly approach any student who misbehaves and say, “You have a warning because you broke rule number one. If it happens again, you’ll go to time-out.”
In an instant, the hands of leverage will shift in your favor.
Because when your students know that their misbehavior, no matter how egregious, won’t affect you in the least, it will change everything. It will bring peace to your classroom and provide them a leader they can respect, admire, and want to behave for.
This is a profound and often-overlooked aspect of effective classroom management. But it only works if it’s real. It only works if you truly feel it. If you have to force yourself to keep calm, the internal strife will inevitably bubble to the surface.
The secret is to rely exclusively on your classroom management plan. Let it do its intended job. Let it alleviate any and all annoyance, frustration, anger, and stress. Let it bear 100% of the burden.
So you can respond to misbehavior without a care in the world.
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