Do You Have That One Class? #sol15


Have you ever had that one class that just slips out of control so much more easily than all the others? You change the seating chart, you review and adjust your discipline plan, you talk to administrators and call parents. Yet, more often than not, this class just won’t get with the program.

I’ve had that one class every single year I’ve taught.

I like all the students. There are some very strong kids in there who I am sure are going to be capable, formidable leaders of our world in the next couple of decades. I feel bad for them when they continue to mess up and have to suffer consequences like serving lunch detention or in-school detention repeatedly. But I also know that they must pay attention and not disrupt others in class in order for everyone to have the opportunity to learn.

I have gone over my rules and procedures more times than I can count — with myself, with my administrators and with my department heads. I give students clear instructions, I redirect them, and then I give them consequences. Some students just insist on continuing talking during independent working times (which last no longer than 10 minutes) or blurting out random comments during discussion times. Other students insist on allowing those students to distract them. Eventually, those who continue to violate the rules start getting frustrated and mad — at me.

I love teaching, I love my students. Some days, after “that one class,” I am dead tired.

Related topics: Student Engagement

About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

  1. Your teaser grabbed my attention because I can completely relate. I am team teaching for the first time and my team teacher has “that class”. We say the same thing…that each one is a great kid individually. But as a group, their is just a dysfunctional vibe…..same issues attention-seeking, blurting out, etc. I have no suggestions to offer you as my team teacher and I are working our way through the same types of management changes to no avail….yet! See I am hopeful…at least let’s hope we get it under control soon since we are looping with this class to 5th grade!

    1. Thank you very much for sharing! While I know that having “that one class” is tough, and I wouldn’t wish this for anyone, it is good to know that I am not alone!

      While I still have days where I doubt myself, I’ve determined that, like my own children, my students are kids for 18+ years for a reason. it takes that long for them to grow up and mature. They are going to keep acting out and misbehave until that happens. That said, it’s amazing what a summer can do for them!

      There are no magic bullets — I just have to remain consistent, work my discipline plan, and teach to the best of my ability every day.


  2. “Some days, after ‘that one class,’ I am dead tired.” Your words will strike a chord with all teachers. Last year it was my 4/5 block. 4th period LA was split down the middle for lunch, and then they had 5th period Social Studies. It was a never-ending cycle of beginnings and endings. Transitions are especially tough with these groups. I just hope it’s not your first period.

    1. I can’t imagine having a class split like that! Some of my colleagues had that split two years ago, and they didn’t like it either. I’m not sure I’d like that as a student. It would be frustrating to start something, and then have to stop in the middle of it every single day.

  3. I teach third grade so I have students all day. Thankfully, this year my class is pretty manageable FOR ME. The problem is when they go to specials such as Music, Spanish, and Art then some of them start acting out and they just feed off of each other.

    One thing I’ve done to combat this is to make the specials teachers aware of my behavior policy and to bring our class behavior chart with them to specials. Not sure how that would work for middle school though!

    I think the main idea is that all teachers need to be on board with the same behavior plan.

    Good luck!


    1. I think the idea of teachers who have the same students working together to manaage behavior is excellent! My team teachers in the past have meet in daily PLCs to discuss behavior issues, and to work together to create similar behavior plans.

      You’ve reminded me of a very important point, especially in the 6th grade. Thank you!

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