Privacy PLEASE!


We all need privacy from time to time. Students are of no exception. This is especially true when you need to address a personal topic with them. Really, its nobody else’s business what may be going on with a student personally, academically, or socially.

Granted, many of the day-to-day re-directions you give to your students occurs in front of others. These occurrences are not what we are talking about here. I know it is impossible to privately redirect a student’s  behavior when you have a classroom full of students.

However, when needing to intervene with a student above and beyond simple reminders, do your best to do so in private. Some ideas include:

  • A quite conversation at your desk or any other place in the the room away from students.
  • Before the school day begins (if the student comes to school early enough)
  • Ask the student to stick around to chat with you when the class transitions to a new location (switching classes, going to a special, going to lunch, etc)
  • Eat lunch with the student
  • Schedule a parent conference that includes the student

Be creative and you’ll find the time and space to meet privately with students. This will show that you respect their privacy which may allow for greater likelihood of them interacting with you through problem-solving and responding.

But what about praise??

Believe it or not, some kids don’t like to be recognized in front of others. Giving praise could actually backfire by a student shutting down when something nice is said about them – I’ve seen it! There are some people that just don’t like to be the center of attention, period! If you find that this may be the case for one or several of your students, use your privacy ideas for them as well.

In the case of praise, you may decide to write praise in their agenda or send notes home. Perhaps you place a post-it note on their desk with a praise written on it. Another idea is to give stickers or write positive words on their papers.

Depending on the personality of your students,  you will find that the most success will occur when you are being flexible with your privacy options and mixing up these ideas to meet student needs for success.

Lastly, don’t dismiss the very powerful question of, “When/How makes you most comfortable for us to communicate?”  Depending on your specific situation, your question to them can be more direct in nature. The most important thing is that you care enough to ask for their opinion.

Share with us ways that you have used proximity to improve student behavior. The more ideas and sharing, the better! Join us in commenting below and supporting one another.

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Barb, LMHC, CPC, Ed.M, CAS  

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