How to Deal With an Annoying Student

Address annoying classroom behavior by making your expectations known.
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Dealing with annoying behavior in the classroom can be a troublesome management issue for teachers. Students of all ages might exhibit disruptive behavior, such as tardiness, complaining, apathy, irresponsibility and rudeness, that makes it difficult for teachers to focus on classroom objectives. Classroom management techniques, including establishing specific behavior guidelines and assigning seats, can help you manage annoying classroom dynamics.

1 Elementary-Age Students

Students in elementary school exhibit annoying behaviors such as losing their assignments, tattling on their peers and complaining about assignments they think are too difficult. Teachers can deal with irresponsibility by assigning bins for homework and labeling classroom resources, such as tubs for manipulatives and art supplies. You might manage excessive tattling by seating troublemakers near your desk or in the front row and by creating avenues for healthy interactions, such as educational group projects. Deal with assignment complaints by breaking tasks into smaller, manageable tasks, suggests Polly Matyorauta, program coordinator at the Center for Excellence in Education at Central Michigan University.

2 Middle School and High School Students

Some middle school and high school students exhibit irritating and disruptive behaviors, such as tardiness, cell phone usage during class and apathy. Address tardiness by talking to parents about the problem to make sure it isn't the parents' fault. Explain guidelines about tardiness to students and parents, so students know they'll receive an after-school detention if they accumulate more than three tardies per quarter and 10 points will be deducted from late assignments. Manage cell phone usage by discussing your expectations at the beginning of the school year -- that inappropriate usage will result in confiscation, and parents must accompany students to retrieve their cell phones. The best way to deal with apathy is to build relationships and present engaging material. The more students feel a connection to you and to their classmates, the more likely they'll take an interest in the class, according to Eberly Center, the education center at Carnegie Mellon University.

3 College-Age Students

Address annoying college-level behavior by treating students as adults. Use reason to deal with disrespectful attitudes, confrontational behaviors and laziness. College students should be expected to read school handbooks and classroom guidelines and respond accordingly with appropriate behavior. If students have complaints about the grades they earned on papers, ask them to articulate them in writing and submit them to you, faculty at Howard Community College in Maryland suggest. That forces students to think through their arguments and verbalize them in appropriate ways. Use silence to control disruptive conversations during class time; students will feel uncomfortable once they notice you've stopped talking.

4 General Guidelines

Teachers of all ages can deal with annoying behaviors by exhibiting fairness, firmness and consistency throughout the year or semester. Students need parameters and must be reminded of those expectations from time to time. Don't tolerate disrespect from an "A+" student and punish a "C" student for similar disregard. Address irritating behavior by meeting with students individually to discuss troublesome behavior. Praise students, or the class as a whole, when they create a healthy environment for learning. Encourage cooperation, teamwork and friendliness to defuse annoying behavior and keep the class focused on learning.

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.