How To Never Again Take Misbehavior Personally

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If you take misbehavior personally, then you’re weakening your ability to manage your classroom.

You’re also:

Creating stress.

Building resentment.

Increasing the odds you’ll lash out at your students.

But you’re not alone. Scores of teachers struggle with this.

So what to do about it?

Well, first it’s important to understand how detrimental the problem is. When you feel frustration, anger, or hurt in response to misbehavior, you’re taking its burden upon yourself.

This isn’t your intent, of course. But it’s the effect. Students can sense when their actions affect you. It’s something you can’t hide.

To the degree you experience these feelings is subtracted from the weight of responsibility on your students. It’s a phenomenon many teachers never grasp, but it’s as sure as the Northern Lights.

The outcome is that the same students continue to break the same rules again and again. They also henceforth hold the power in the relationship, pushing your buttons nearly at will.

Part of the solution is simply being aware of it. What you’re thinking and feeling inside—and revealing on the outside—when a student breaks a rule has a powerful effect. In fact, this alone can be the difference between chaos and peace.

Just knowing is half the battle and can be all the impetus you need to remain calm no matter the behavior. Just water off a duck’s back.

However, to tackle the root of the problem, and rid yourself of all unnecessary internal strife, we must look to 19th century psychologist Alfred Adler.

Adler believed, and millions can attest, that healthy relationships stem from what he called a “separation of tasks.” A separation of tasks entails focusing solely on what are your responsibilities.

In other words, you aren’t to interfere with the tasks that belong to others—which also includes any associated mental burdens. This doesn’t mean that you won’t or shouldn’t have empathy or offer encouragement, far from it.

It just means that you’re going to allow your classroom management plan to do its job fully and completely. It isn’t your task to feel bad about your students’ misbehavior or to try and control how they think or feel about it.

Taking on any strain or encumbrance hurts both you and them.

You end up stressed-out and resentful and they lose out on the life lessons they need to develop into kind, responsible, and contributing adults.

Accountability is going by the wayside in all areas of society chiefly because of a misunderstanding of compassion. It’s not permissiveness. It’s not blaming outside circumstances. It’s not allowing students to listen to music while working or talk during instruction.

Or treat you with disrespect.

Compassion in a school setting is protecting every student’s right to learn and enjoy school and your right to teach them without interference. It’s letting them feel the full weight of their mistakes, failures, decisions, and responsibilities.

It’s refraining from yelling, scolding, glaring, lecturing, or any other harmful or manipulative reaction in favor of letting your classroom management plan do its good work.

It’s embracing your responsibility, which is to teach great lessons and provide a clean and safe environment, and then shifting in total the responsibility to listen, learn, and behave where it belongs.

With your students.

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