Classroom Management – How To Handle Power Seeking Students
The sad fact is, it does not matter how well teachers know their content … it does not matter how many strategies teachers know to improve reading comprehension or to increase academic achievement … if teachers can not manage their classroom, they can not teach.
Many experts in education agree that the students who are causing the classroom management problems typically fall into one of four categories:
- attention seekers ~ (pencil tappers, hummers, students who talk out etc.)
power seekers ~ (always getting in the last word, muttering under their breath)
revenge seekers ~ (recipients of frequent punishment)
avoiding failure ~ (students who do not do the work or withdraw from the lesson as a means of avoiding more failure)
However, for most teachers, it is the power seekers that start to make our blood boil. These are the students who question your authority and do so in front of the whole class.
Many teachers feel that they can not let the power seeking student get in the last word because the will lose face with the rest of the class … leading others to feel comfortable asking your authority as well.
These power seekers are trying to "bait" the teacher by mumbling something under their breath or flat out stating, "You can not make me do this assignment!"
Bottom line … these power seeking students are trying to get a reaction out of the teacher and there is nothing they would like more than to have their fellow classmates watch the teacher explode.
Do not do this … Do not fall for their tricks … Do not take the bait !!!
At least not then and there in front of the other students.
There are other options … A much better approach is to take a deep breath, do not lose your cool, and in a calm, matter-of-fact manner simply tell the student to see you after class and then immediately continue on with the lesson.
If the power seeking student then mutter's something under his breath again just ignore it … that's right ignore it … the rest of class already knows that you will handle the situation without their presence. There is no need for further response at this time as all you will be doing is disrupting your own lesson and giving that power seeking student just what he wants.
Then, when the bell rings and the class is leaving, simply pull that power seeking student away and follow through without the audience that the student desired. Depending on the situation you may also follow that up with a phone call home, parent conference, detention etc.
Just do not get "into it" in front of the rest of the class.
By knowing the reasoning behind why a student is misbehaving (ie seeking power) a teacher can make much better classroom management decisions.