The Hidden Costs of Getting into Power Struggles with Your Students
During my time in the field of education, I spent seven years as a K-12 teacher, another seven years in the role of a university professor, and finally, I became an education dean. During my tenure as a teacher, I devoted all of my time and energy to helping students achieve their academic capabilities and transform into productive citizens. Promoting the development of next-generation education administrators and teachers was my key objective in the other roles. For more than the last two years, I’ve been spending my time and energy as an education entrepreneur. I established Lynch Educational Consulting, an education company. The company also has three web properties, namely Edupedia, The Tech Edvocate, and The Edvocate.
When I miss the earlier classroom environment, I try to produce something useful like an article, resource, or project for teachers across the globe. Now, I produced a series of case studies that provide a clear overview of the problems in the education field. These will also help pre-service teachers figure out how to approach their practice in the best possible manner.
In the majority of classrooms, most students adhere to the teacher’s instructions. However, there’re generally some students who try to test the limits and the teacher’s patience. The way you react to this power struggle impacts the relationship between you and those students for the remaining school year. Go through the following case study to understand the probable adverse consequences of getting into power struggles with your students.
Out of Control Classroom
Her students were running around when Amy entered the classroom. She asked them to sit down quietly. Though most students adhered to her instruction, three of them didn’t care. Amy focused her attention only on those three students after telling the entire class once again to become quiet. She said to them that they’re the only students who aren’t listening despite her telling the class to stop talking and sit down. One of those students laughed and replied that they were complying with Amy’s directive and started talking again with the friends.
Amy more annoyingly said that the student might leave if they don’t want to stay in the class. And the student interpreted it as if Amy was dismissing the class early. The class eventually became noisier, with the impertinent student continuing to talk. The other two pupils who were sitting on top of their desks became silent and were visibly deciding whether or not they should sit down properly.
Amy then told the impudent student that they’d never learn anything because of that attitude. She also said that they should leave the class because of their inability to follow directives. Ultimately, all students, including the main troublemaker, sat down. He kicked the chair when sitting down and continued to murmur expletives for a couple of minutes. Though he was silent during the remaining class, he also didn’t heed the class. Amy got a feeling of satisfaction that she managed to keep the class quiet for the remaining duration.
Now, it’s your time to think carefully about these questions and decide how to modify your practice.
- Did Amy make the right decision to give the student only two options – either leaving the class or complying with her directives?
- Can you suggest other ways that Amy should have followed in handling this student’s disobedience?
- Should Amy have punished just that student or all three of them? If all of them, individually or as a group?