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Unruly behavior causing additional stress for some educators

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 9:19 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - With about five weeks left in 2021, some teachers and parents are ready to finish the year strong. But unruly behavior is causing additional stress for some educators this year.

It’s been a topic of discussion all year: unruly behavior, from students in classrooms taking on disruptive TikTok challenges in school to passengers on airplanes fighting with flight attendants over mask mandates. With the holiday break ahead, some educators say it’s time to have a chat about behavior and manners.

Wichita State Associate Education Professor Dr. Heidi Cornell is among teachers and parents glad to have a break this week. She said this semester has been more difficult than last year. At home, one of her children has already missing 40 days of school due to quarantines.

“I’ve been in tears this semester, so have my kids, because I want my kids to be in school,” she said. “There’s a lot of policies around COVID right now, where it’s kept them out of school.”

At Wichita State, Dr. Cornell is an associate professor who educates teachers. She describes what teachers are experiencing in classrooms.

“More overwhelmed than they were last year,” she said. “I haven’t heard a lot of them say that behavior is worse, the thing I hear from teachers is that kids are just not in school.”

Fellow educator Dr. Kimberly Wilson suggested tips to talk with children about behavior. Those tips include communicating plans and expectations, being consistent in applying consequences, encouraging kids to identify and express their emotions. reviewing coping strategies such as taking deep breaths, moving or giving themselves a quiet moment, and as a parent, providing positive and constructive feedback to children.

This Thanksgiving, Dr. Cornell also advises parents to think more positively and to create more opportunities for conversations between parents and children.

“And then I also try to model good behavior, of course, when I’m interacting with my own kids,” she said. “Like, I try not to be easily angered, I guess.”

Dr. Cornell said parents can demonstrate good behavior and manners that children can then model.

Bad behavior is also happening aboard airplanes. The Federal Aviation Administration received more than 5,200 unruly passenger reports since the beginning of the year.

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