Help me! Help me!

So, you know what? Sometimes there are days where after teaching I wanna sit down and cry!! Like crying out of frustration. Not out of sorrow!!! Today was one of those days. Why? I have one word for you fellow teacher: Students!!

I am in desperate need of help with a student in particular. This learner is an Alpha type personality who does the unthinkable. S/he asks questions, answers them, and then moves on to follow up questions. So, you may ask, ” Does s/he answer them correctly?” Ummm. Nope! Me? I stay silent waiting for my cue to speak which never comes because questions come flying one after the other and I never, ever get to speak!!! I know that teacher talk time should be as minimum as possible, but in this case teacher talk is becoming non-existent.

What do I do? I end up speaking over the learner who doesn’t listen anyway. Keep in mind, I am not a quiet/introvert/shy etc. etc. teacher. You know. The one who sits patiently.  Noooooooo. I am the chatty teacher, the one who commands the floor (toot -toot). I am sometimes kinda rude even, but with this one… I dunnoooooooooooo. Help me!! Gimme your wisdom ………… or a holy intervention……



11 thoughts on “Help me! Help me!

  1. Hi Joanna. Hope you feel less frustrated now. I don’t know if this is of any help but if you haven’t already, you could try and introduce conversation strategies and signal words/phrases or non-verbal indicators.

    For example – getting the student familiar with body language and interpreting micro expressions, using language people use to politely to interrupt or change the direction of a conversation. How to encourage a less chatty person to talk and develop a conversation.

    It’s not telling her not to talk, but inviting her to become a good conversationalist.


  2. Hi Joanna

    First of all, I feel your pain!

    But, on a more helpful note, why don’t you use your strong teaching personality to show them when they have the floor, and when they don’t. I feel I have a similar teaching style to you, and I find I end up being a traffic officer – literally using hand signals to direct “traffic”. The students find it amusing but it’s very clear what it means, just make sure you “stop” other students as well so you’re not targeting only one.

    Good luck!


  3. Hi Joanna, I agree with tekhnologic, great idea. Another thing I do with this type of students is time them. “Wanna tell me your opinion? Sure. You have 30 seconds.” And I pull out my stopwatch. Others then can have a go, too. Let it not spoil your Christmas mood:-) Cheers


  4. Hi Joanna,

    I’ve had students like this before. The best strategy for me was to say, “Whoa! Stop for a moment. You’re going to appear very rude if you talk like that, which would be awful because you’re really nice.” Then go on to strategic yielding of conversation, letting other, shyer people take control for a while and then coming in as the conversation helper as needed. They seemed to like the ego stroke and it solved some of those ‘Why do you feel the need to talk all of the time?’ moments.


  5. Turning on the camera is good for now, but it would be good if the student could get the hang of this for other situations too, otherwise other colleagues and clients will have a nightmare with them on the phone.
    It’s difficult because it sounds as though this isn’t a language issue. I have a friend who does this kind of thing in general situations and it drives me crazy sometimes. Sometimes I have to take the conversation back to the point where I wanted to say something, even if she has jumped on to another topic.
    If all else fails and this is a private student, you could remind them that they’re paying for your time, and if you don’t have the chance to speak, you won’t be able to help them/they will not be getting value for their money. Most people don’t like to think that they’re doing that 😉


  6. I’ve never had some a challenging student, Joanna, and I’m sorry to hear that you have to endure this. I see why it’s so frustrating. However, just last week I had to snap at a student: ‘Why don’t you ever listen to others?’ I did it because he never listened to what his peers had to say and when it was his turn to elaborate on somebody’s idea, he asked in a very dismissive manner: ‘What did he say?’ I think I just had enough at that moment. And it helped, I must say. But I’m sure you’re in a different teaching context so such a reaction would not be the best thing. 🙂 Anyway, I hope things have become better by now. Have a nice December.


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