As a newly qualified teacher, or any other teacher for that matter, you might anticipate a number of potential issues before you head in to a new school. One of those might include working with disruptive students.

Whether this problem becomes apparent on the first day, or later on in the term, it is a serious problem which should be tackled straight away, to avoid affecting the rest of your class’ learning.

The truth is, disruptive behaviour is an issue that all teachers will face at some point in their career.  How you plan to deal with it will determine who has control for the rest of the school year…if you want to avoid a power struggle with a student/students, we have some advice from our teachers below which can help you to tackle the problem head on:

1. “Don’t attempt to assert your power. It then becomes a fight for control, and some students don’t give up easily. Instead, avoid cooperating with the student to minimise the chances of them challenging you back. Make them assume responsibility for the solution of the problem – don’t give them any ammunition.”

2. “I had a student that wouldn’t stop making noises while I tried to deliver my lesson. I always have two approaches for this:

A: Ask the student to leave the classroom.
B: Communicate to them that the noises they are making are disrupting the class, so you won’t continue until they stop.

For option A, there is a chance the power struggle will grow. If this individual has already refused to cooperate with you, they may continue to hold their ground. However, with option B, you are placing responsibility solely on the student and giving them a consequence. By throwing the ball in their court, the chances are that they will grow tired and uncomfortable with the situation, and eventually give up because they have nobody to fight against.”

3. “You can always ignore their efforts to divert attention from you, and then address it in private after class. As long as whatever they’re doing isn’t overly affecting your lesson. For example, a student refusing to put chewing gum in the bin isn’t too disruptive – it can be ignored.”

4. “I would tackle the issue after class, and give a consequence or explore the behaviour further – I’ll try to find a solution for the student and figure out why they feel the need to be disruptive.”

5. “I would say that confrontational students can of course be so difficult to handle, and that every teacher isn’t alone in feeling that way – but I find I use my best judgement if I take the time to calm myself first, and then I can handle the situation sensibly. Losing your temper with an upset student just doesn’t work. I’ve even responded with humour at times to defuse a tense situation. Making eye contact with them helps too, but you have to show that you haven’t lost control of the situation, and more importantly yourself.”

We support our teachers as much as we possibly can, and we nurture every newly qualified teacher that walks through our door. Just look at what our NQTs have to say about us: https://connex-education.com/looking-for-work/nqt-recruitment.

Our staff at Connex understand the every day struggles you may face in the classroom, which is why we want to help you be as prepared as you possibly can – we hope these tips for NQTs will help you to find the best solution for yourself, and hopefully ease those first day nerves! And if you’re looking to get more of this advice, and a bit of supply work, all you have to do is get in touch on: 0845 266 0650, and one of our friendly members of staff will be in touch very soon.

Will you help us to continue to equip our NQTs with as much advice as possible? What techniques would you use to defuse a situation with a disruptive student? Leave a comment below so we can pass this advice on to our other teachers!