Dealing with the stress of behaviour management  

Through his vast teaching experience, Athir Hassan, also known as The Behaviour Trainer, has developed various techniques to manage the stresses and anxieties related to managing student behaviour.

Articles / 4 mins read

Take a look at Athir's tips below:

Share your feelings

This makes a huge difference and provides a channel to “release” the build-up of emotion. It also helps you feel less alone and part of a team. When you know that other staff members face behavioural issues too, not just you, you can working together to deal with these challenges. Behaviour is only effectively managed when the whole school works together.

Talking is one of the most effective methods I have found to cope with behaviour management. This has helped me manage my stress and anxiety in the past, by expressing and sharing your stories.

Remember behaviour is a challenge for all teachers

Difficulties with classroom management is experienced by most, if not all, teachers. You should never feel like you’re a weak or incapable teacher for not being able to manage student behaviour. Every teacher has experienced difficulties with this and is constantly learning new strategies. Be kind to yourself as you learn and become familiar with what strategies and techniques work best for your classroom – and don’t be afraid to ask for help and support along the way.

Don’t blame yourself

You can sometimes take student misbehaviour personally. But the truth is – students can, and will, misbehave for a number of reasons. Some reasons may be simple to understand; some others could be more complicated and unrelated to the situation in the classroom. It’s not your fault and doesn’t mean you’re not cut out of teaching.

Next time you start to blame yourself, try asking yourself these questions:

  • Am I getting the support I need in this situation?
  • Do I know who I can turn to for help at work?
  • Am I aware of the full profile of a student and their background? Remember, a student may be misbehaving due to external factors, such as current home-life or SEN.

Practice passionate detachment

It’s great to feel passionately about what you do - but it’s important to have balance. You’re a human first and foremost, and your wellbeing is a priority. Teachers are so passionate, that they go ‘the extra mile’ – and beyond. So much so that work can take they become at risk of mental and physical burnout. Passionate detachment means that when you leave school, you leave your worries there. It means that you do not define your personal worth too closely to your work performance, or rely on it to give you a feeling of ‘completeness’.

Focus on what you can control

As mentioned, there can be a variety of reasons why a student misbehaves. There can be things you can do to help prevent poor behaviour, but nonetheless misbehaviour is not your fault. Focusing on what you, as a teacher, can control, and what you can’t, can help you feel more confident in your role. One way of bringing this to life is to make a simple list of what you can and cannot control to create a sense of balance and bring peace.

For example: I can control: the level of difficulty in your lesson planning. Maybe a student is causing disruptive behaviour because they are stuck on a work task? I can’t control: Student X’s current difficult home situation. I may need to speak to pastoral or my head of department to ask for guidance on how best to support this student and manage their behaviour.

You might also want to try this circle of control exercise to help you focus on what you can control. This tool works brilliantly for individuals or as a team exercise for leaders.

Remember: good enough is good enough

Teaching is one of the most important jobs in society. You’re inspiring the next generation. But sometimes teachers can expect too much of themselves and feel guilty when things sometimes go wrong. But the truth is – no one is perfect. You have to make mistakes, to grow as a teacher - and this is ok. Remember that no one is perfect: ‘good enough is good enough’.

Need further support?

Sometimes when you’re struggling with the stress of behaviour management, it can help to talk to someone outside of your immediate circle. You can speak to a qualified counsellor at the Education Support Helpline, 24/7. Call us on 08000 562 561 day or night and we’ll listen.

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