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Responding to Student Behavior

September 8, 2014

Precept of the Day

(Part of a Series of Back to School Posts)

Working with Challenging Students


You are back to school and have spent the first days building relationships with colleagues, parents, AND students. You know their names and are getting to know their interests, hobbies, and personalities. During the first week you introduced the importance of classroom community by facilitating  student-created classroom norms, giving students voice and choice and making sure students know you are invested in their success. You taught and practiced classroom procedures, routines, and transitions so that students have clear expectations for behavior and learning in your classroom.

 But even the best laid plans will not reach all students immediately. You will have students who come from challenging home situations, have a history of challenging school situations, and do not trust you …..yet. You have to earn their trust and it may not be easy.

The most important thing to remember is to keep trying. Keep trying to connect with students. Keep showing that you care and that you are trustworthy. So even when it is hard. Keep calm. Be patient. And always treat students with respect.


  • Build a relationship first.
  • Be prepared.
  • Be fair. Be consistent. Be firm.
  • Do not become angry.
  • What are the consequences? (Be ready.)
  • Support students in corrective actions.

Early in the school year, introduce the Problem Solving Process to students so that they can self-regulate and learn to make better choices.

See Previous Post on Working with Challenging Students.


The Problem Solving Processproblem solving poster

  • Identify the problem–What did I do?
  • Analysis – Why did I do that? What was I feeling?
  • Brainstorm – What are other choices I could have made? What could I have done differently? Think of at three alternatives
  • Analyzing the possibilities. What would have been the results of these actions?
  • Selecting the best Solution. Which solution is the best?
  • Planning a course of action. Next Steps: What will I do next time?

See Previous Post.



To support students in making better choices as they work with other students, introduce strategies for Conflict Resolution.  This is especially important in elementary school on the playground and riding the bus. Conflict Resolution  is also important for middle school and high school students who have not mastered the skill. See Previous Post.

peace bridge

It takes time to build trust, relationships, and community. Along the way remain patient and make sure they remember you as a kind and caring person, a teacher who really makes a difference.

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