As parents we love our children. It comes very natural and easy for most of us. Through our anger, our frustration, and our stress we still manage to find a deep special feeling for our child.
As any of you who are parents know, some children can be very trying. Some children have special needs. Some children are unruly no matter how much you discipline them.
These are the children that are often dreaded by teachers. These are the children who control the mood and atmosphere of the class. These are the children that teachers often need a “break” from. These are also the children that are rarely absent from school (their parents need the break also!)
So what can teachers do when they find themselves in a stressful situation with these children in their class?
Even the teacher with the strongest nerves of steel can have days of stress and frustration from dealing with a “difficult” student.
The key is to find something that keeps the child occupied. Find some activity that consumes the child’s mind. This way the child will not be tempted to bother other students or take your attention from the class.
A fish aquarium works very well. One year I had a difficult student. When he became distracting to the class, I would ask him to go sit and count my fish. There were many small fish in the tank and he would put a lot of concentration into sitting and attempting to count the fish for me. The activity was very calming for him and often worked well.
In times such as these it is also important for teachers to give one another support. When a teacher can no longer mentally deal with the child, the other teachers should offer a short break.
For example, send the student along with a red folder to a cooperating teacher’s class. The teacher will know that when the child comes with the folder that the teacher is needing a break. The cooperating teacher can keep the student for ten or so minutes while the classroom teacher regroups. The students never have to know what is happening.