Uncooperative Students

Dealing with Uncooperative Students

Even the best Instructor sometimes encounters students who are uncooperative or unruly. How you manage those students can be a great teachable moment for others in the classroom, who are watching you and will emulate your behavior when they are in charge of younger children.

But how should you manage difficult students? Safe Sitter® has a phrase that pertains to you as much as to the babysitters you’re training: “Stay in control of yourself. Stay in control of the children.” You must always remain calm and levelheaded while keeping the classroom under control.

To begin with, remember to prevent problems by being respectful of your students. Young teens can be sensitive to being singled out or publicly criticized. If you need to correct their behavior, avoid embarrassing them in front of their peers.

Next, if a behavioral issue does arise, use the same tips you teach students to manage behavior: provide comfort, distract, give choices, make a game, when…then, and take a break/start over:

  • Is the difficult student bored or tired? Remember to give students short breaks periodically. Students get restless and need to move throughout the day. You can ask them to stand up and stretch, play a quick game of Hokey Pokey, or invite them to get a drink of water from a nearby water fountain.
  • Distract a rowdy student from bad behavior by asking the student to help hand out materials.
  • Give an unruly student choices. Take a quick break and let the student choose between jumping jacks or the chicken dance.
  • Offer a student some motivation by using a “when…then” solution. If a student is having a hard time being patient during skills practice, you might say, “When everyone has had their turn, then we can take a short break.”
  • Take a break and start over. If a student becomes overly competitive, loud, or combative, perhaps it’s a good time for that student to step away for a few minutes. Allow the student to take control over their emotions. Then, after some time has passed, check in with the student to see if they’re ready to rejoin the group and start over.

Finally, using these Behavior Management Tips may help, but if a student continually disrupts your class, you may need to remove the student, call the parents, and suggest that the student take the class at a later point, when they feel ready to follow class rules. After all, the rest of the students in class deserve a good learning experience as well.

Safe Sitter® classes are meant to be enjoyable for all students, so do your best to manage classroom behavior so everyone can learn, participate, and have fun.