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  • Writer's pictureBusybee Teachers

Losing The Moment To Win The Day: How A Substitute Teacher Can Prevent An Explosive Situation

(The substitute teacher is not an employee of Busybee Teachers)

As educators, it is our responsibility to ensure that the classroom environment is safe and conducive to learning. This includes preventing physical altercations between teachers and students. While incidents like the recent altercation between a substitute teacher and a student may seem like they happen suddenly, they usually arise from a series of events.

Here are some tips to avoid such incidents:

Dress professionally: The way you present yourself can significantly impact how students perceive you. By dressing professionally, you communicate to your students that you take your role as an educator seriously and that you are responsible for their education and safety.

Communicate with the office: Upon arriving at the campus, ask the office who is your point of contact in case of behavioral issues. Use this moment to explain that you may need reinforcement from the first few visits as a guest teacher until the students on campus familiarize themselves with you. Also, ask for a picture seating chart and duplicate copies of the attendance sheet.

Set the tone: Greet students at the door to let them know that although you are a guest teacher, classwork is still expected to be completed. If students enter the classroom wrestling and playing, ask them to step back out and enter the classroom like scholars.

Introduction: Introduce yourself and your expectations, with mutual respect being the most important. If instructed by the school to confiscate cell phones, address them after explaining that there is a no cell phone policy, with no second chances given to remove them from sight. Explain the restroom policy and remind students that they should remain in their assigned seats.

During the class: When a student pulls out their cell phone, do not announce in front of the class that you are taking it away. Instead, walk over to the student, tap their desk gently, and ask if they can speak with you outside the classroom door. During this conversation, remind the student of the mutual respect agreed upon at the beginning of the class, and offer a choice: hand over the cell phone and get it back at the end of class or have someone from the office call their parents to pick it up after school. 98% of the time, the student will hand over the phone.

What If Nothing Works? Despite our best efforts, there may still be situations where a student refuses to comply with classroom expectations. In these instances, it's essential to remember that sometimes, losing the moment can help win the day. Disengaging from the student and requesting support from the office or another teacher to remove the student from the classroom can be the best course of action.

By following these tips, educators can ensure a safe and positive classroom environment for both students and teachers. Remember, it is better to lose the moment than to risk escalating a situation and potentially putting both teachers and students in danger.


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