Work Life

Disrespectful Students

I was incredibly blessed in my first year of teaching. I had amazing students that were eager to learn, they received feedback with open arms, and most importantly, they wholeheartedly respected their classmates, as well as me. It wasn’t just a handful of them, but everyone in class. Of course there were the odd cases of students acting up but they were never disrespectful. Annoying at times sure, but disrespectful never.

Of course it’d be silly of me to expect this pleasant streak of awesome students to never end, but I didn’t expect to have such disrespectful ones. It’s also naïve of me to think that I can “win over” every student. I was just blessed to have won over almost all up until now.

I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help but take it personally. Sometimes I think I’m being judged by students based on the fact that I’m female and because I look and am “young“. It’s hard for me to accept and deal with it because there’s nothing I can do to change the way I am and it’s not realistic to try and change their cultural views or their personality if that’s just the way they are.

But I don’t want to dwell on this. Rather, I want to look forward and figure out how to manage these situations. I know already that reacting out of instinct or mirroring them will do no good. I even Googled some articles to see what other teachers have done and this will be my course of action:

  1. Enforce classroom rules.
    I have set classroom rules and I have been enforcing them, but I could be stricter. I want to avoid making anything seem personal so I want to be able to go back to the classroom rules that were agreed upon and use that instead.
  2. Stay cool, calm, and collected.
    It’s like when I was bullied in elementary school. I can’t give them the satisfaction of getting under my skin. What I find that works for me is turning away from the students as I walk to the board and in that brief moment I take a deep breath and close my eyes. It gives me enough time to shake it off, get myself together, and stay calm.
  3. Kill them with kindness 
    Or I guess it’s respect in this case. Even though they may disrespect me, I will not reciprocate and instead continue to treat them as adults (because I teach adults) and speak to them as such. This is going to be the hardest for me because I always want to come back with a snappy and sarcastic comment. But I shall refrain.

Other than doing these things, I don’t know what else I can do. If there are other teachers out there that had similar struggles when they started out, please help me out. I would love to learn from all of you.

Thanks for reading and stay awesome.


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