School violence against teachers continues to plague our nation and schools with no end in sight. Billions of dollars are funneled into programming and security measures with minimal positive results. School violence can only be minimized by teachers who take on the task of meeting the unruly students where they are!
We can parallel minimizing school violence with the offense of a football team. The focus the offense of a football team is to score points. Scoring points requires that the entire team protect the person who has the ball. In this example we will use the teacher as the quarterback and the students as the other players. The students come to the classroom and the teacher calls the instructional plays. The success of the play is dependent upon each student completing their assigned task. If that student does not complete their assigned task not only do they fail but the team fails and the teacher fails.
The first task for the teacher is to teach their students to be successful. Success breeds happiness amongst students which is the product of positive emotions. Positive emotions open students to new ways of thinking and acting. When students feel positive emotions they become more open to new experiences. They feel more comfortable making connections with teachers and will consider alternative solutions to school violence against teachers. Over time, positive emotions allow students to form new friendships with teachers, develop new skills, and gain new knowledge which will have a positive impact on student achievement.
The second task is to refrain from the usage of sarcasm. As the quarterback, it is easy to use sarcasm as a tool for blaming the ineffectiveness of the players as a corrective function. Sarcastic messages create negative emotions. Negative emotions like fear and anger will close down the student’s mind and heart and narrow down the number of possible reactions to only a very few choices. The response to life-threatening situations will trigger their brains into the mode of fight or combat. We know from past history that many students choose to fight and combat. Choosing to fight or combat will only contribute to increasing school violence against teachers.
Two alternatives to sarcasm that will eliminate school violence against teachers is to use praise and humor. Praise is an effective reinforcement that provides encouragement to students and is a reinforcement for behavior performance improvement. Praise is an effective reinforcement that helps to build student self-esteem.
The other alternative, humor, can build and strengthen teacher-student relationships, especially on the individual level. Humor increases the connection between the teacher and the student by reducing tensions that can cause school violence against teachers. Humor results from teachers who attempt to connect to students personally in an effort to stimulate the learning experience, and use humor as an alternative to authoritarian discipline process. Using humor as an alternative to discipline will help to establish positive relationships with the most unruly students.
At this point many educators are summarizing that the above mentioned strategies have not worked for the unruly students. You must now enter the mind of the unruly student and ask yourself: What are the successes of the unruly student? They are successful at being unruly and creating havoc in your school and classroom. This is why it is important to replace that unruly behavior with academic success.
MEET THE UNRULY STUDENT WHERE THEY ARE!!!
If they are unruly in the classroom, instead of the normal discipline, have them to develop a plan for disrupting a classroom and then offering a solution. If they are unruly in school, have them to develop the process of unruliness in the school and then offer a solution. Finally, if they have the propensity to induce school violence against teachers, have them to write about that process and then offer a solution. This will allow the students to reflect on their practice of the potential of school violence against teachers and offer a solution.
All the best,
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
The Raccelerate Phenomenon
Treasures of Hidden Racism in Education
“Dr. Campbell did his part and now all we have to do is run with it.”
~ Tom Coleman ~
Woodstown-Pilesgrove Public Schools Superintendent of Schools
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”
~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President