August 2017

What Works: Handling Disruptive Students

By School Counselors across the U.S.
What’s your best tip for working with disruptive students during your classroom lessons?
Planned ignoring is hard but often works. I work to build a positive relationship with the student outside of the classroom, which often leads to greater mutual respect in the classroom.
Jessica Satterlee, Cuyahoga Heights Elementary, Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio
I have found success in giving disruptive students jobs. I will make him or her my class helper. The positive attention usually cuts down on the problem behaviors.
Adrienne Curtis, Pasco Elementary, Dade City, Fla.
Get to know students before they are a problem.  Show genuine interest in them by finding something you like or can connect with. 
Kelly Richard, Washington High School, Washington, Mo.
I give a lot of respect to my students so they typically show it back; we all have our days, though, so I always follow up with a student when they are acting out of the ordinary.
Brittany Sconzo, NCC, Moore Catholic High School, Staten Island, N.Y.
Disruptive behavior is often linked to stuff that occurs outside of the classroom. So checking in before you start gives you an idea of what students might need a little more. Don't be afraid to be silly when students get a bit wild. That often catches them off guard and wins them over. 
David Christian, PhD, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.
A class can earn game time where students are challenged to work on social skills through playing board games, but only if we get though the counseling lesson in 30 minutes.
Beverly Livingston, School of the Osage, Lake Ozark, Mo.
I learn the classroom teacher's strategy and apply it. This creates consistency for the students and I get to learn a variety of classroom management strategies.
Jenay Aiksnoras, Zephyr Cove Elementary, Zephyr Cove, Nev.
Nothing is more powerful than focusing on the positive. Set your expectations high at the beginning and give a shout-out to those doing a great job. It encourages others to do the right thing!
Cassaday Ukele, Indian Trails Elementary, Independence, Mo.
I teach FEVER:  F - Face me, E - Eye contact, V - Voice, when I use my voice, listen to me and when you use your voice, we all will listen to you; E - Expression, be positive; R - Relax/respect.
Rebecca Burkhart, The STEM Academy, Savannah, Ga.
Students need to see what you are presenting as directly affecting them and then they become invested. Getting frustrated decreases the trust in the room.
Kathie Spaun, Chino Hills High, Chino Hills, Calif.