I'm sure you are exhausted & relieved that report card writing is almost finished. Yeah!

Next onto Valentine's day and leap year month - Feb 29. I'm sure you have many creative and fun activities planned for your students. Please check out my Valentine's ideas . Enjoy!

Now onto a more serious matter - dealing with an ugly behaviour professionally - when students say "I won't do it". Do realize that when some students say "I won't", they may really mean "I can't". We need to make sure which one these students mean and then deal with it professionally, not personally.

The students may refuse when asked to try new tasks. They may be verbal about it, mumble under their breath, or display a negative message through body language or their eyes.

Trying something new alone, may make them fearful. Then they may become argumentative and "dare" us to make them do something. They are simply fighting to avoid being labeled as failures. They remain hostile towards authority.

The teacher's task is to get them to do as we asked. The main cause of this misbehaviour is revenge. They're angry because in the past they hadn't done well and to them, we're making them fail again.

These students lash out openly, which they think gives them power. They believe that they can't achieve, hence the negative behaviour.

You, as a teacher, need to respond professionally and handle the problem, instead of reacting personally. Please keep in mind that you need to keep a tight rein on your temper and never take action when you're angry.

The behaviour of these students reveals 3 basic human needs - status, aggression and achievement. By saying "no" to any authority figure makes them think that they are a "somebody", which is a negative form of aggression.

As a teacher, you have to turn that around into a positive outlook and give students leadership roles. Give them responsibilities in and outside of the classroom.

When correcting a negative comment, turn it around by responding with a positive statement. For example, "We saw better behaviour yesterday, what happened today?" or "You got along fine with everyone yesterday, what got you in a fighting mood today"?

Keep in mind, take an opportunity to build a relationship, rather that destroying one (Never give up on anyone. Miracles do happen every day).

Try to have a private conversation. "I'm not comfortable with your responses - are you?". This approach may disarm the student. Even if the student doesn't respond, follow with another question, "Are you saying you won't or you can't"? The response will usually be "I can't". Then you can offer help.

However if the response is "I won't", you may say "I can't make you, so we have a whole new problem. Do you want to talk about it or get outside help to solve the problem"? If it becomes a stalemate, you do have to get help from your administration.

However, finish your conversation by saying, "It takes two to fight and I won't fight you". You may be pleasantly surprised when they seek you out before admin comes to help.

Make sure you approach the parents in a calm manner and do it before the behaviour really accelerates. During the conference, you may find that if you, as their teacher, adopt the role of healer, it's the first step towards changing their behaviour.

Remember, if you try to fight fire with fire, you may win the battle, but you and the student will lose the war. Never under estimate the power of words to heal and reconcile relationships.

"There is no loneliness greater than the loneliness of a failure". Eric Hoffer.

Have fun in February with your students. Speak to you next month.

Upcoming newsletter topics include:

* Using Teacher's Instinct.

* Support Staff.

* Teacher Attitude vs Parent Attitude.

Happy trails,


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