How To Respond To A Sudden Increase In Misbehavior Smart Classroom Management

4 min read

Once in a great while, especially in the first few weeks of the school year, your students may test you to see if you really, really do mean what you say.

Or sometimes there is bad luck involved . . .

  • A fire drill.
  • Arrival of new students.
  • Wi-Fi outage.
  • Hard rain against the windows.

Anything unexpected can stir up excitability and incite an increase misbehavior. And you can’t run away scared. No matter what, you still must follow through calmly.

As an SCM teacher, this is nonnegotiable.

Fulfilling your promises will go a long way toward limiting any surprise disruption and getting back to work. The worst thing you can do is show frustration, lecture your class, or bypass your classroom management plan.

Still, your class—or a portion of your class—may have showed a lack of maturity. Maybe they spontaneously ran to the windows or they started yelling and getting out of their seats in reaction to the fire alarm.

Even if it’s a momentary disruption, you can’t just let it go. Not only do you want to avoid something similar from happening again, but it’s an opportunity to get better.

So what follows are three steps that do just that.

1. Review

Review what happened like a small town newspaper reporter. Don’t mention any names. Just stick to the facts and recap in detail, leaving nothing out.

It’s most critical that you don’t show displeasure. You can even be matter of fact. Modeling is okay too. The key to this step is for students to see what happened objectively and through your eyes.

2. State

Step two is to simply state that such behavior isn’t okay and will never be accepted. Even though you’ve already taught your classroom management plan, and have followed through consistently, they need to hear you say it.

Then pause. Let your words hang in the air. Though you won’t show irritation or annoyance, your class must see your seriousness and commitment to high standards.

3. Practice

Now have your class show you how they should have behaved. Depending on your grade level, you may have to first model what you expect.

Give your ‘go’ signal and allow 30 seconds to a minute of correct, mature behavior. Yes, it may just be sitting in their seats quietly. It may be lining up to leave the classroom. No matter, let them prove they understand.

Good News

In most cases, the three steps should take about five minutes. But even if it takes longer, it’s worth it.

Again, it’s an opportunity to push the maturity envelop. It raises the bar on overall classroom behavior and personal discipline. You can even view bad moments and sudden increases in misbehavior as good news.

It’s important to mention, however, that it’s best not to complete the three steps right away. Allow for at least a couple of hours. The next day is often best.

This allows students to view the situation and their role in it with a calm heart and fresh set of eyes.

After step three, praise them for doing it right and then move on to the next lesson or activity as if nothing happened. It’s fixed and the burden has now shifted in total to your students to handle similar situations better the next time.

And they will.

PS – I’ll be speaking next month at the Rise Up Summit, which is a free online conference for Christian educators. To check it out and sign up, click here.

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