As we come to the end of September some of us might be feeling a bit discouraged and/or frustrated by some of our students’ behaviors. It is totally normal to have these feelings – especially when things were going well the first couple of weeks. When you are feeling discouraged though it is important to pause and reflect on what has been happening to make you feel that way – perhaps a behavior plan that you implemented is not working well or maybe you have a student who just seems to not care about school. The start of a school year can have its ups and downs, but it is important to recognize these problems sooner rather than later so you can fix them.
Behavior plans can be a useful tool to help change a students inappropriate behavior when implemented correctly. However, sometimes these plans do not work right away and might need some tweaking. Author Laura Driscoll notes in her article “Behavior Plans Not Working? 5 Mistakes to Avoid” that it is important to make sure you have plenty of data when creating a behavior plan for students, if your plan is not working yet gather more data and reconfigure. It is also important to communicate with your colleagues when a student’s behavior plan isn’t working. Author and behavior specialist Samantha Gregory notes in her article “What to Do When a BIP Isn’t Working as Expected” that speaking with colleagues about behavior plan issues can provide new insight to the issue at hand.
Maybe your behavior plans are working, but you have noticed that one of your students just does not seem to be interested in classwork this year or maybe they started the year strong, but are slowly beginning to slow down on their work. Once again, this can be normal for students in a new classroom – especially after spending so much time learning on a virtual platform last year. The article “10 tips for helping a discouraged child” notes that its important to focus on the positives when encouraging a student. Try focusing on parts of an activity or assignment that the student does really well, helping them see what they do well can encourage them to keep trying. It is also important to give students a valid reason for learning the topic at hand and try to relate it to topics they might be interested in. The article “11 (more) tips to encourage unmotivated students” notes the importance of integrating topics that students would be interested in to help encourage them to complete their work – just like us, students are more motivated to learn when they find the topic interesting.
Now we know that you might be looking for more information on how to better manage behavior issues and encourage students this year so please take a look at the following articles for more information.
We hope this information helps you remain calm in the face of problems with your new class – we know that you will find a solution and move forward!