They're not like that for me...

I don't think there can be a worse response a struggling teacher can here than "They're not like that for me". So why do teachers/lecturers use this phrase? Maybe it gives their ego a boost or maybe because they don't want or haven't got the time to support and give advice.

So what is a better response? Usually class wide issues are down to low level disruption, something which is endemic in many schools and colleges, going back to basics can often help.

Negotiate a set of rules with the students - a class code of conduct that everyone understands. Some students may need to be told that the language they use, shouting out, not being prepared for the session is not acceptable.

Be persistent in the classroom, don't expect miracles overnight, changing the language students use for example can take a long time. Give lots of praise for progress.

Go into each lesson expecting it to be a grade 1 lesson - if you think its going be a bad session - it usually will be.

Make sure you plan your sessions carefully with a range of active learning activities. For more able students have extension activities ready (not just more of the same).

Make sure you explain tasks thoroughly.

Don't shout - students never respond and it alienates the students that do behave.

Use body language and move around the classroom to emphasis your point.

Do not make mountains out of mole hills - do in inflame situations.

Always keep your promises - if you said work will be returned on a certain date, make sure you keep to this.

Creating rapport can be hard, don't be afraid to laugh with your students. If you make a mistake in the classroom, share it with the students, don't try to cover it up, it will make you appear more human.

Ask students for feedback, what do they enjoy about your lessons, what would they like to change.

Be consistent with discipline.

Remember that this is the best job in the world and think of the buzz you will get when you make progress with this class.

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