How to deal with naughty pupils/students in the classroom

Mrs. Babajide, a Primary 4 teacher in Ikeja, Lagos, looked at her class roster the first day of school, her excitement and joy of starting a new term was disturbed. In her class this year was James, the school’s naughtiest pupil.
His teacher in Primary 3 had constantly complained about him to colleagues. The head teacher and everyone in the school knew James as a stubborn boy. He did things he was instructed not to do. He bullied other pupils and ate other pupils’ snacks. He was just mischievous; he caused serious discipline problems in class, picked up fights with the boys, teased the girls and grew worse everyday.
Amazingly, he was very
intelligent and scored high marks in class.
Mrs. Babajide decided to face the ‘James-problem’ immediately she got to class.
When she greeted her new pupils, she made little comments to each of them: ‘Chinenye, that’s a pretty hair-do you have.’ ‘Tobi, I heard you draw beautifully.’ ‘Bola, I know you sing and dance well’. When she came to James, she looked at  him straight in the eyes and said, ‘James, I understand you are a natural leader. I’m going to depend on you to help me make the best class in Primary 4 this year.
She said this over and over for the first 3 weeks and she praised James on everything he did by commenting on how he showed he was a good student.
With that reputation to live up to, 9 year old James didn’t want to let his teacher down ~ and he didn’t although he misbehaved once in a while.
At the end of the term, James was already the best pupil in the class as he channelled his energy into his academics. Today, James is a good boy and he loves his teacher so much. His parents still  find it difficult to believe the change they see.
If you want to excel in that difficult leadership role of changing the attitude or behaviour of others, give the other person a good reputation to live up to.
There is an old saying:  ‘Give a dog a bad name and you may as well hang him’. But give a dog a good name and see what happens!

Credit: This story was extracted and redrafted  from Chapter 7 of the book: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
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