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By:  D.J. McCormick






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Difficult Darlings


Sometimes despite our best efforts, children can be difficult.  So, how do we as teachers go about handling the difficult darlings in our classrooms?  The first step in taking charge is to speak with the child.  When trying to reach a difficult child it is important that you as the teacher take the time to get to know the child.  It is a must that you communicate and really learn what the child's likes, dislikes, best friends, hopes, and ambitions are.  You cannot make a difference to a child if you don't actually know the child.  And by getting to know the child better you are also gaining the child's respect.  By capturing the child's respect, you will be able to help improve the child's behavior.

The second step in capturing a difficult darling is to make a list of all of the characteristics that the child displays that you like and dislike.  Once you have made the list, really look at the list.  Study your list.  And then decide what one or two characteristics you would like to help the child with.  It is important to only work on one or two behaviors.  You cannot change an entire child.  And, if you do try to attempt to change the entire child, both you and the child will become frustrated and little will be accomplished.  By trying to make small changes, both you and the child will feel as though success is occurring.

As you and the child begin to make behavior changes, you should stay in constant contact.  It is also a good idea to include the parents in the behavior changes that are occurring.  Parents can be an advocate in helping you to help the child to change.  The more people helping the child, the easier it will be to help improve the desired behaviors.

Whenever you, as the teacher, decide to go about making changes in your classroom, it is also a good idea to speak with your class.  Your students are used to specific routines.  If you desire to change the routines, the children need to be made aware of the changes and have input.  If you are the only one trying to make the changes, then you will be swimming against the current.  However, if you have the class thinking the same way as you do, then the changes will be more consistent.  Again, when making whole class changes, be sure to take it slow and make one change at a time.  If you disrupt the routine entirely, the children will also have the learning disrupted.

Difficult darlings can make any day seem like a long day.  But, if you take the time to get to know your students, gain their respect, and make small changes at a time, you should be able to take the control back in your classroom.




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