7 Strategies for Teachers: How to Deal with a Disruptive Class

Dealing with class disruptions is a frustrating experience for any teacher. Trying to teach a class while a student or group of students are laughing, playing on their phones, or causing trouble is every teacher’s worst nightmare.

Not only is this distracting for a teacher, it also irritates other students who are trying to learn. Thankfully, there are plenty of effective strategies for dealing with a disruptive student.

For example, some teachers ask the troubled student for help in the classroom. This will make them feel included in a more positive way being loud or making jokes. Separating students who egg each other on can also be an efficient way to deal with class disruptions.

From setting the tone to getting an administrator involved, here are 7 of the best tips for regaining control of the classroom.

1. Set the Tone

Teachers are put in an awkward position at the beginning of the year. They want to do their jobs as effectively as possible. They want to be a respected authority figure among their students, while still managing to be likeable and approachable.

Teachers who want to prevent classroom disruptions should set the tone as soon as the school year begins. When a student disrupts the class, give them a warning. The next time someone is disruptive, send them to the hall or office. This will get the message across fairly quickly.

A teacher’s behavior at the beginning of the year will show students they are there to teach them, not joke around or babysit.

2. Get to Know the Students

Looking over the class rosters during the summer may seem daunting. A whole new pack of students to learn the names of and get to know. Getting to know the students can go a long way in helping to prevent classroom disruptions.

Teachers should get to know the students in their classroom. Learn their names. Observe their personality traits. Do they love to laugh? Are they focused on their studies? Do they respect authority? These are things worth noting.

Any subsequent information about their home-life, hobbies, and goals can also be helpful for the following reasons.

  • Teachers will be able to call troublesome students out by name.
  • Students will realize their teacher cares about them as individuals, not just as a number in a classroom

3. Use Humor Wisely

Teachers should not take the disruptions personally. The child is likely not lashing out because of the teacher, but simply because he or she is young. Thinking back to their own childhood can help a teacher relate to their students.

Having a sense of humor can be a saving grace for teachers dealing with unruly students if used wisely. Humor can disarm uncomfortable situations and create a positive student-teacher connection, but teachers should take care that students do not take advantage of their leniency.

4. Be Respectful

It may seem tempting to yell or make a passive-aggressive comment toward a student, but this should be avoided at all cost. Teachers are the adults, students are the children. Therefore, teachers must set the example of respect in the classroom.

One way that teachers can show respect to students is with how they reprimand them. If a teacher has something to say to a student, they should do so privately.

Instead of telling the child they are irritating and disruptive, acknowledge that their behavior (joking around, chatting) has its place – that place just isn’t during a class. Explain that what they are doing is distracting to other students and to your work. Be lighthearted but firm.

Talking to a student privately shows respect and prevents them from feeling embarrassed in front of their class.

5. Don’t Overreact

It’s incredibly frustrating when someone is being disruptive in the classroom. Not only is it distracting and disrespectful to teachers, but it robs other students of their own concentration. Teachers may want to raise their voices or argue with the student, but this would be the worst idea possible.

The best thing you can do to encourage a troublemaker in class is to overreact. Students love being given the opportunity to argue back and forth with a teacher. Teachers who lose their cool in the classroom are setting themselves up for social media gossip and enhanced retellings of teachers who “totally lost it” in class.

6. Talk to Administrators

There is no reason why teachers should be dealing with class disruptions on their own.

Teachers should never feel embarrassed about reaching out for help with a student. Speak to administrators about the disruptive students. This will give them a heads up about any future problems that may be encountered with this particular student.

Administrators can also come in for a class visit. They will ask both the teacher and students how things are going. This can help with any disciplinary matters and can also help students to feel heard and respected.

7. Use Positive Reinforcement

There is an old phrase: “Compliments will get you everywhere!” that may just help teachers improve student behavior.

Research shows that children benefit from positive reinforcement. If a student is showing improvement in their classroom conduct, it can be beneficial to do a follow up with students to help prevent recurrences from happening.

If negative student conduct has been corrected, take the time to express pride and appreciation for the child’s good behavior.

Compliment their progress and encourage them to continue working hard. Teachers may also inform parents and administrators of how well the student is now doing. This positive feedback can do wonders for ensuring students stay on the straight and narrow.

Dealing with class disruptions does not to be the bane of a teacher’s school year. Showing respect will help students know that they are cared for. Using humor can help students relate to their teacher. And setting the tone for the year will help students know that their teacher isn’t the type to let disruptive students take over the classroom.

Author Bio: Monica a self-driven person and loves to spend her leisure time reading interesting books that come her way. She is passionate about writing and collecting new books. She believes in hard work and it is her persistence that keeps her doing better. She is a perfectionist and doesn’t let go off things that don’t appear perfect to her. She loves traveling whenever she needs time off of her busy schedule. Her favorite holiday destination is Hawaii.

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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