Have you ever found yourself favouring a particular student, yet another just has the knack of getting on your nerves? When you reflect on the situation it’s not that the student is particularly rude or disobedient, but there is just something that frustrates you. When it comes to classroom management a lot of the problems can stem from our personality and resulting personality clashes. In the previous two posts I have given you a couple of simple tests that help you to discover your predominant personality type. You can discover them HERE and HERE.
What can you do when you have a personality clash in the classroom? Here are 3 strategies that will work for you:
1. Take responsibility to resolve the situation. At the end of the day you are the adult and you are the leader so lead in this area. You need to realise that there is a problem and then take responsibility to resolve the tension or minimise the conflict. I am not suggesting that you change your personality and just allow the student to continue on the path they are on. After all this is your class and it is your career. At the end of the year the chances are that the student will have moved on and you remain. So set your classroom up around your personality and passions.
2. Work on discovering the good aspects of the student. I am yet to find a student that I haven’t been able to find a good quality in. You might need to get creative and dig a bit, but there will always be something that you can appreciate about them. I have found that if I can find a point of common ground or a character or quality I can appreciate then my attitude begins to change.
3. Be open and honest about how you feel. I have found that this present generation of students do not believe in absolute truth and therefore everything is a negotiation. This being the case you ability to connect with your students as a mentor and coach is far more influential than connecting with them as an authoritarian. This has opened up an opportunity for teachers to have open and frank discussions that actually lead to permanent behaviour change (I will do a whole post on this in the future). This being the case I always take the opportunity to speak to the student one on one. I ask them what they think the problem is and then I explain how the situation makes me feel. It is in this explanation that generally the students defences are let down and you can find a way forward.
Now I know there will be teachers reading this thinking “yeah but you don’t know…” trust me there are times when a student will throw the above strategies back in your face – but I have found that in the vast majority of cases you can resolve the tension and move forward.
I’m interested. What have you found has worked for you?
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