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While most teachers are reluctant to confess that they have trouble warming to certain students, it is only natural to have difficulties gelling with certain personalities.

It is important to remember that teachers have to handle non-compliant, grumpy, and downright disruptive students daily. At times, the frustration that comes from handling this bad behavior makes it difficult to uncover and appreciate kids’ good attributes. It is a two-way street, of course. Suppose a student suspects that a teacher is not their biggest fan. In that case, they may start demonstrating even worse behavior and become increasingly intent on making life difficult for the teacher.

Although it is not always easy to like students, it is important to acknowledge that teachers must look out for every kid in their class and ensure they achieve their full potential. If you’re having difficulty looking past a student’s, particularly challenging attributes, try out the following tips to help you learn to start appreciating their idiosyncrasies:

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1. Move past any feelings of pride

Often, the hardest students to like are those that undermine your authority as a teacher and challenge your classroom disciplinary processes, the assignments you set, and your patience. To show a child that acts in this way a little love, you must resist the temptation to retaliate in a way that shows your pride is damaged. Rather, you must put these feelings aside and remind your students of the value of learning and your ambitions to help them succeed.

2. Take up a stress-busting exercise

It is a well-established fact that exercise relieves stress. To help you beat the stress of handling challenging students, it is a good idea to consider taking on a regular stress-busting exercise.

High-intensity sports are particularly effective at helping you vent frustration and include:

  • Kickboxing
  • Tennis
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Football

3. Try to stick with the student

Sometimes, giving up on your student can seem like the easiest option for them and you. This should not be an option, however. Remember, challenging students cannot simply be changed within days or weeks. Helping them to grow academically and socially sometimes requires hard work on your part.

4. Try lightening the mood

Students and teachers find it difficult to get along when there is an awkward, uncomfortable atmosphere. Try to break the ice by telling a few jokes. Occasionally, gently teasing your student will help to get them on your side. It will demonstrate that you care about them and want to include them in classroom discussions.

5. Try out things that may not seem natural

It may seem irrational to give a difficult student major classroom responsibilities. It may just turn their attitude around, however. As a teacher, it is important not to limit your expectations of students you view less favorably. Indeed, your low expectations of them may encourage them to act out and could end up creating a vicious cycle. Remember to remember that every student can achieve brilliant things and that your job is to help nurture their talents.

6. Remind students that you will not give up on them

It may seem a little cheesy, but kids love hearing that the adults in their lives (teachers included) will not give up on them. If a student starts acting out and you need to punish them for bad behavior, try to (firmly) reassure them that the reprimand is not a reflection of your views on them as a person. Rather, it represents your passion for helping them get far in life.