Tips For Teaching Problem Children

Every classroom comes with at least one child that can be tough to deal with. Having a plan can help make things easier.

Problem children come with folders thicker than most autobiographies. Before you dive into that file to see what every teacher has said about "Tom" since he was in preschool, get to know the child yourself. It is just like leading the witness in a murder trial when you open that student folder. Historically, no matter what you may have thought about "Tom" yourself, the moment you open the file, he becomes the "problem student."

Every student has a story and the ones with problems have a novel. Often times, a child just needs someone to give them a chance. After you have gotten to know your resident problem child, then head to the office to dig out their rap sheet and find out their history.

One of the most important aspects of dealing with problem children is knowing your school's policies and procedures. Talk to your principal and guidance counselor to find out what has or has not worked in the past. Get an update on the situation because maybe something for this student has changed. Find out your options for when things get tough and you need to call for backup. Get home, work and emergency contact numbers for the child's parents and/or guardians.

No matter what happens in the office, you still have to deal with the student in your classroom. And, no matter what type of child you are dealing with, it is always best to have a separate place away from the other students for them to go. It can be as simple as a carpet square for a young child or a desk off to the side for an older student. Make sure that they understand that breaking the rules results in consequences and that they will be asked to step away from the group if necessary.

If the problem is severe enough, you may need a neighboring classroom where the student can go. Only use this in emergency situations, or you will find that the student is never in your room.

Have a specific set of rules for your classroom. That does not mean you should outline every wrong move that a student makes. With the help of your class, generate a few rules that broadly cover your areas of concern. List these rules in a place that all of the students can see. Review them frequently so they are not forgotten. Refer to them when you are administering discipline.

Once you have established your rules, stick to them. Nothing makes things worse with a problem student than if they can manipulate you. If a student is allowed three warnings before there are consequences, make sure you stick to that. Do not give five or six warnings and then your punishment. If you do not stick to your rules, the warnings become more frequent, and the consequences become less effective.

For your problem child, document the rules that are constantly being broken. You want to do this for a few reasons. When you call the parent, you are prepared to explain what the problem is and how long it is been a problem. If you need to send the child to the office, you have proof that there is definitely a problem. Child study may become an option, and you already have some of the documentation you might need.

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