Correcting Kids in ways that work

Kids test a teacher’s limits. They try to push the envelope further and further to suit their needs. They will subject teachers to tests to measure how much a teacher can be toyed with. Correcting kids requires you to deploy certain measures that effectively remedy a kid’s behaviour.

Anecdote – The inattentive kid

As I entered the class today, the whole class stood up and greeted me. One student was busy writing. I noticed but kept quiet.

He had seen me, yet had decided to ignore me. He was testing my malleability and how much of a long rope I would extend.

The need to respect teachers

I gave a general piece of advice to the class to make it a point to stand up and wish teachers as they walk in. This is a way of acknowledging the presence of someone who has come to enlighten you, provide knowledge and guide you. Never slink away from giving the appropriate respect to your teachers.

Inattentive Kid in the Class
Inattentive Kid in the class

Ten minutes into my lecture, I noticed that the same boy was busy scribbling again. I was sure it was not noted from my lecture as he had hardly lifted his head for the last 5 minutes.

Walking up to him, I found him copying Hindi notes from a classmate’s book. I seized his book and asked him to meet me after the class.

The closure

He came to meet me at the end of the school hours and requested I return his book.

What had displeased me

I told him that he had shown disrespect to me by writing the Hindi notes while I was lecturing.

Why it had displeased me

I explained to him that it pains teachers a lot when somebody does not pay attention to. Every teacher puts in about 2-3 hours of preparation for a 40-45 minute lecture. They try to go beyond the textbook and bring in something to make the class more engaging and absorbing.

And here you are not paying attention to me when all the other students have been totally engrossed in my lecture.

He asked me to pardon him.

What I expect in future

I gave his book back and told him that I expect him to pay full attention to me while I am in the class. In case he cannot or has other pressing needs, I told him to let me know so that he can be excused.

I hope he learnt the lessons I intended to pass to him.

6 Golden Rules of Correcting Kids

My advice to a lot of teachers is to deal with kids in a straight forward manner by confronting them directly. Here are 6 golden rules to get your message across to kids in a crystal clear, non-combative manner that works well 9 out of 10 times in correcting kids.

  • Pull them up for exactly what disturbed you
  • Explain to them why their actions displeased you
  • Tell them how it affects them in the long run.
  • Lay out clearly what you wish to see as the change in them
  • Do not hold a grudge against the child
  • Do not bring up old episodes every time the kid is being pulled up.
  • Be a role model yourself – Let your actions match your words

Correcting kids is a subtle art that takes some time to master. Keep at it and it will do wonders to you as a teacher.

American Association of Pediatrics also suggests the following guidelines to correct kids’ behavior.

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