One of the reasons difficult students misbehave is because their teacher expects that they will.
They assume they will.
Which causes the teacher to behave in such a way that antagonizes the student and reinforces their bad behavior.
To combat this phenomenon, you must do the opposite. You must assume henceforth that your most challenging students will, of their own accord, behave . . . perfectly.
You must let go of any and all negativity, animosity, and resentment due to their many transgressions, and choose instead to see them in the most favorable light.
That isn’t to say that you’ll become lax in your supervision, ignore their misbehavior, or in any way become less consistent holding them accountable.
What it means is that you’re going to pretend—both within and without—that they are among your most well-behaved students. You’re going to act as if they’re as independent and worthy of your trust as the rest of your class.
You’re going to assume through your words, thoughts, and actions that they can and will follow your rules and procedures just like everyone else.
This simple change in thinking—in how you choose to see them—effectively removes an infinite number of verbal and non-verbal signals that reinforce their poor behavior.
It removes the nuances of speech patterns and body language that inadvertently communicate that you don’t care for them, you’re tired of them, and you resent them for disrupting your classroom.
It removes the high-wire tension created as a result of anticipating their next disruption or act of disrespect. It removes the negative prophecies and labels that have been ladled upon their shoulders by every well-intentioned teacher they’ve come in contact with.
It upends their attitude toward you, transforming them from someone who firmly believes that you’re out to get them . . . into your biggest fan. It eliminates moodiness and negativity and the desire to get under your skin.
It inspires them to want to behave.
They’ll see in your eyes a reflection of themselves they may not at first recognize, but who deep down they’ve always wanted to be.
Warming them to the core.
Setting ablaze the desire to fulfill the true and loving prophecy you’ve etched upon their heart.
The student you know they can be.
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