Taking Back Your Classroom from Toxic Students
Toxic students interfere with the teacher’s ability to provide a quality education for students who are dedicated to learning. By toxic student, I mean the negative behavior of students who doesn’t want to be in the classroom and likes to disturb others by disrupting the classroom environment, making it impossible for others to stay on task. As a result, committed students are robbed of an education for that particular day or week, depending on how frequent the negative behavior occurs.
Identifying Toxic Students
You can identify toxic students as soon as they enter the room. The volume of their voices rises above others to a level 5. During seatwork, they constantly in engage in excessive chatter and laughter while others are during their work. They refuse to work and often get out of their seat even after being redirected several times during the course of the day.
Going Beyond Redirection
When you confront them, they are insubordinate, smarting off at the mouth against every aspect of your redirection message. Toxic students work to take away your power and to get the rest of the classroom on their side. If you as a teacher remain passive, you will lose control and the classroom will become chaotic and unsafe.
Passive teachers will spend the entire school year attempting to change toxic students by constantly redirecting their behavior. They may use time out or the buddy room many times to no avail. Yet timid teachers go no further than this. For some reason, such teachers refuse to open a communication channel with the parents or guardians of the child.
Taking a Firm Stand against Toxic Students
Teachers must firmly confront such toxic students with the threat of serious consequences unless they change their behavior and begin to make smart choices. Constant redirection will not eradicate the problem and will only embolden such students to do as they please. The most logical response is to have such students removed from the room. This will take away what illusionary power that they might appear to possess.
Protecting Yourself from Burnout
In order to avoid teacher burnout and frustration, you must open up a communication channel with the child’s parents or guardians. Work with administration and other teachers to find a solution. However, make it known to the parents that their children have serious behavior problems and are endanger of failing in school. You must give the parents a reason to help you instill in a sense of urgency in their children. Toxic students must know why they are in school and the consequences of not taking it serious. Who better can convince them of this fact than the parents themselves?
A classroom without the atttitudes of toxic students will become a safe and an appealing environment for teaching and learning. Students will respect one another and work together to accomplish quality seatwork and projects that gives them a sense of accomplishment and academic success.