Like everyone else, teachers have different opinions and react differently especially when it comes to students. While some would try to comfort the student, a few may simply neglect the student’s cries as being over something mundane.
The teacher’s reaction is also influenced by other factors including location (where the student is crying), impressions about the student, what happened earlier, the student’s personality, and more.
But the truth remains that, no teacher enjoys seeing students cry irrespective of the reasons or their dislike for any particular student. They understand that students have challenges that could originate from their homes or even from school including bullying.
Keep in mind that the majority of teachers enter the profession out of their desire to help students. So, it’s difficult not to feel bad when you find a student crying.
Don’t forget that teachers were once students and understand the challenges that students go through daily. However, it’s not very uncommon to see students crying in larger educational institutions.
Some teachers in such schools may sometimes ignore a crying student especially when it doesn’t happen in class. After all, they may end up spending most of their days attending to crying students if they stop to attend to each incident they come across.
What Teachers Can Do When Students Cry In Class
So how should teachers act in such situations? Simply feeling bad about a student crying isn’t enough, as it doesn’t help address the problem in any way.
A typical scenario is you’re teaching in class and you notice a student silently crying in the corner. How do you approach this situation?
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Ask Them To Stay After Class
In cases where you’re nearing the end of the class, you can ask the student to stay behind after class. Schools are social environments and information travels fast in our technological world.
The last thing you want to do is to put a student on the spot by asking them to tell you why they may be crying in the presence of their peers.
Additionally, people tend to cry harder when they narrate the reason for the action in the first place.
So, asking the student to stay after class would create a safe environment where they can freely express their worries to their teacher.
Ask Them To Come To Your Office After Class
Another option is to ask the student to come to your office after class. It’s not advisable to ask them to narrate their story in the presence of their peers.
Simply ask the student to come to your office after class. This strategy can be useful especially when you’re nearing the end of the lesson.
The student would be able to fully confide in you in a safe environment outside the reach of their peers. Remember that crying in class would be embarrassing for any student.
So the student must have a good reason for doing so.
Excuse The Student
Simply let the student go to the bathroom with a friend to get themselves together. Don’t put any time limit on this as they could take longer than expected depending on the state of the student.
Ensure that you follow up on them after class by inviting the student to talk in a safe and professionally appropriate space.
Don’t Ask Why
Refrain from directly asking the student why they’re crying in the presence of their peers. The student would already be embarrassed from crying in front of their peers.
The last thing they need is to narrate their problems to the entire class. While some students would be empathetic, others may leverage this to tease and possibly bully them in the future.
So it’s advisable to refrain from asking them outright why they’re crying.
Don’t Put The Spotlight On Them
Calling them out is not a good idea. Instead, you can approach them in a friendly manner to ask them personally if they’re having problems with the class or lesson.
If the issue stems from the ongoing lesson, they would appreciate you taking the time to help them out.
On the other hand, if the issue stems from outside the lesson, you can simply ask them to wait to chat after the class.
If they don’t want to talk in class, refrain from pushing them as they probably want to avoid distracting the class any further or avoid being vulnerable in the presence of their peers.
Book A Meeting
The student may have a class right after the current class or the teacher may need to teach another class as well.
Simply spending some minutes after class to chat with the student may not be enough. Booking a meeting at an appropriate time will ensure that the student has enough time to express their worries.
Inform The Counselor
Depending on the nature of the problem, it may be better to direct them to the school counselor for professional help.
It’s advisable to only do this once class has ended and you’ve been able to chat with the student. Sometimes the student would be too embarrassed to talk to their teacher about their challenges.
Referring them to the school counselor would make it easier for them to receive the necessary help.
After all, counselors are bound to keep any conversations between themselves and the students except in special cases where they’re mandated to report to the appropriate authorities.
It’s easier for students to open up to counselors than their teachers in most cases.
What Teachers Can Do When Students Cry Outside Class
It’s not uncommon to see students crying outside class. This could be the result of bullying, a breakup, or something else. So, what should teachers do when they come across crying students outside class?
This may sound heartless but it’s sometimes advisable to ignore some crying students. The student may be crying as a result of the teacher enforcing some kind of punishment for an action.
Comforting such a student right after the punishment could lead to worsened behavior and motivate other students to adopt similar behavior. So, it’s not always advisable to help a crying student.
When they need to be disciplined for their actions, do not back off on the consequences that they deserve. Keep in mind that some students would resort to frequent crying in an attempt to avoid discipline for their actions.
Talk With Parents
If a student cries a lot in school, it would be advisable to invite the parents for a meeting when they come to pick up the student or to simply schedule one.
Find out if it’s something they do frequently at home or a challenge they may be facing at home which could be causing such frequent behavior at school.
Inform the parents of how you intend to address the issue and solicit their advice on your approach. You should also keep them posted on any progress made in your attempts at rectifying the problem.
Students have genuine problems in their personal lives, at home, and also at school. From breakups to bullying, students may be facing various challenges.
Unfortunately, some adults may simply laugh off problems faced by the young. While these problems may seem inconsequential to an adult, the less experienced students may be struggling with them, sometimes for the first time.
It’s advisable to dignify their distress by letting them know it’s okay to cry and assuring them you’re available to help.
Do not force them to tell you what the problem may be if they don’t want to. You can suggest possible causes and have them shake their heads “yes” or “no” in an attempt to identify the general course of the problem.
Inform The Counselor
Depending on the severity of the problem, you may also inform the school counselor. If the student is unable to open up to the teacher, they may find it easier to open up to the counselor.
You can recommend going to the counselor to the student especially when they don’t feel comfortable talking to their teacher about the problem.
It’s natural for any caring teacher to feel bad when a student cries and most would approach them in an attempt to identify the source of their worries.
That said, most teachers would not feel too bad about it especially when it’s a result of some form of disciplinary action.