Sometimes Teachers Just Need To Shut Up

Teachers are not only there for the academic side of things. They also serve as counselors, peace-maker and sometimes, therapists. You know what I mean. Students at some point will have concerns and worries about their friends and families. These worries are often carried into the classroom and would sometimes translate to bad behaviour or social withdrawal.

When students misbehave, most teachers resort to shouting and/ or punishment. Often, this results in escalation of the situation and a vicious cycle of bad behaviour – teachers shouting – suspension. It does not help. Granted that bad behaviour is never acceptable and should not be tolerated, aggressive responses may not help in the long run.

On the other hand, the usual response by a teacher to a student who is upset or has opened up about their problems is to shower them with advice. While this is good in some cases, giving advice may not work for others.

For both situations, what I suggest is for the teacher to ask the students what their problems are or what’s bothering them. Even though bad behaviour is a regular occurrence for some pupils, try to remember that these behaviours could be the result of something deeper- a family problem or a problem with their friends, for instance. Try to keep an open mind.

Be quiet and listen to what they have to say. Keep in mind that some of them may not have people around them who would listen to them whole-heartedly. Some of them may just need to off-load.

Try not to pass judgement too quickly. Assess the situation and offer advice only when needed. Seek help from authorities and other agencies in appropriate situations.

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