This is a big problem in tough classrooms – rude students making it their mission to offend or embarrass a teacher by asking personal, probing questions. One of the worst things you can do in response to such comments is show that you’re bothered. If you give them an emotional response of any kind you’ll have rewarded them with exactly what they wanted. Take a deep breath and try one of these ideas instead…
1) Calmly state that the conversation is inappropriate and must stop:
“That comment is inappropriate/unacceptable. You need to think before saying things like that.”
“We’ll talk about these comments later.”
Make this statement without emotion and then move on with the lesson. It should be a complete brush off. Don’t get drawn into a conversation with this person and don’t answer any more of their comments – you’ve dealt with them and they deserve no more of your attention.
2) Create a diversion such as a quick demonstration, introducing a new topic/game etc.
“Look this way everyone please, I set this up earlier.”
“OK, for this game you need a blue pen and a piece of scrap paper…”
The secret is to move on from their questions straight away and change the focus of attention. In order to be able to do this on your toes and not get caught out trying to think of suitable alternative activities you really should have a resource file (either in your head or hard copy) of interesting and engaging games and fill-in activities.
3) Take out a pen and paper and say:
“I’m writing your comments down; I’m recording what you say so that I don’t make a mistake when I explain your behaviour to other people.”
If you liked these ideas and you’re interested in developing your repertoire of suitable intervention strategies for dealing with classroom behaviour problems, you’ll find more like this in our new resource…