Best Way to Deal with Tantrums and Tell-Tales in the Classroom

Tantrums and tell-tales are generally more common among female students, but some boys do it too. I truly believe that hormones have a lot to answer for when it comes to tantrum behaviour, and girls of a certain age seem especially talented at pouting their lips and stamp­ing their feet when they don’t get their own way!

Tantrums have a terrible habit of getting out of hand very quickly, and you do not want to exacerbate the situation. Speak steadily, quietly and authoritatively, and encourage the student to take a minute to calm him or herself down and think about why they are agitated. Although your instinct may be to draw attention to their irrational behaviour, (after all, she is being a stroppy little madam!), it is essen­tial you appear sympathetic and understanding without indulging the student.

Tales in the Classroom Best Way to Deal with Tantrums and Tell Tales in the Classroom

Generally, if you give students enough time to cool down, and refuse to give them the negative attention they desire, they will merely nurse their pet lip for a while and then move on. Thankfully, most tantrums are very short lived and don’t have to become major behav­iour issues.

When a student decides to ‘tell tales’ on another, this can be slightly more problematic. It can sometimes be hard to establish whether or not they are telling the truth or merely trying to stir up trouble and gain a reaction from you. Don’t give tell-tale behaviour any more attention than it deserves; it is a small-scale behaviour issue that generally doesn’t warrant too much interest. However, if you notice it occurring frequently, it is essential that you approach the ‘tell-tale’ and challenge their behaviour.

Remember: any behaviour that has a negative effect on your teaching should be dealt with accordingly. Good ground rules make for a good learning environment, but they must be adhered to.

Finally, it is not just students who have tantrums; other teachers have them too. It can be an eye-opening experience to watch a colleague have a bit of a strop, but bear in mind that it is important to support, not judge. Try to find out what the problem is, and if you can help in any way. Everyone has bad days occasionally, and it could be that this is one of theirs.

Don’t forget, teachers are humans too!

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