Coming Back From a Bad Day With a Student

So, yesterday wasn’t a good day. The student had a bad day, you had a bad day. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day – we’ve established it. You’re hoping tomorrow is better. Tomorrow needs to be a better day. What can we as teachers do? I’m sure you have lots of ideas. Here are a few to get a jump start.

  1. Make sure you have an active, fun lesson planned for the first period. Take the students outside to play a game or sports or do a fun science experiment. Movement and fun activity are a great way to start a day.
  2. Find time to make sure the student knows that you like them. This is so important for a student-teacher relationship. Many students think when they’ve had a bad day, the teacher doesn’t like them. Make sure the student knows you like them and your objection is to specific behaviours (e.g. emptying the green bin onto another student’s desk).
  3. Have a plan in place. Expect that there will be other difficult days and decide what you will do when it happens. Perhaps you will allow the student to go for a walk to calm down sooner next time. Perhaps you will call the Spec. Ed. teacher for help next time. Staying home in bed is not a permanent solution!
  4. Use music during the day. Play music as the students enter or in a game or as they are doing art. Music is a calming tool. (Not death rock.)
  5. Apologize. We don’t have to have done something wrong to apologize. We just need to want to restore relationship. WE can be sorry they were hurt or sorry it was a bad day.
  6. Ask what they would like to do – as long as it’s safe and appropriate, try your best to include it in the day. Maybe everyone want’s to see Michael’s dog on FaceTime.

Everyone has bad days and they can be difficult to come back from. Having some ideas and some faith that today will be better can go a long way to actually having a better day!


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