The biggest of the three challenges teachers may face is that of dealing with student behaviours. Students, both young and old, are not what they used to be in terms of classroom behaviour and deportment. The belief in ‘respect’ for teachers by students is more of an anachronism than a reality these days.

Student teachers on practice regularly report that poor behaviours are the most major challenge they confront when in schools. I have been given to understand that around 80% of the time teachers work with classes can be devoted to attempting classroom management and discipline with only 20% being available to teaching. Students, especially those in secondary schools are increasingly challenging teachers, becoming the prime focus of teacher stress.

I can offer ideas on how this issue can be countered and managed, but in another forum.

Some of the aberrant and dysfunctional student behaviours include:

* Using mobile phones in class for social purposes, notwithstanding school rules to the contrary.

* Throwing objects at teachers and other students.

* Talking over the top of teachers and other students.

* Throwing rubbish and discarded materials onto the floor rather than using the bin.

* Physically interfering with other students.

* Physically interfering with and attacking teachers through hitting and punching.

* Swearing at fellow students.

* Swearing at teachers.

* Indulging in foul mouthed and abusive verbal behaviour toward fellow students and teachers.

* Leaving classrooms without permission.

* Listening to music and other media distractions while in class.

* Refusing either by quiet defiance or outright counteraction to complete work assignments.

* Refusing more generally to participate in lessons.

* Refusing to leave the room when requested.

* Refusing to comply with reasonable requests.

* Engaging in taunting behaviour toward fellow students and teachers.

It is little wonder that many who would teach ‘see the light’ and either discontinue training or quite the profession after a relatively short teaching career. These sure some of the reasons for why 50% of graduate teachers leave the profession within five years of entering upon their teaching careers.


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