As instructors, you encounter students from all walks of life with varying levels of ability, commitment, and focus. Most of the time students are polite and respectful, but every once in a while, ill-mannered individuals find their way into your classroom. Nail School News asks: How do you handle them?

I’ve had plenty of disruptive students! The situation and the kind of disruptive behavior will determine how you handle the situation. If it’s something small, like a student who talks too much, it’s easy. I had one really annoying talker. I just walked over to where she was sitting and kept talking to the class, then made my way to the front. This made her aware that I knew she was talking, and it took care of the problem. If it were a more serious problem, then I would call the student’s name and ask them to stop. If it was something that persisted, I would ask to speak to them privately to deal with the situation.

Gracie King, The Beauty Point Academy, San Antonio,Texas


I’ve had to talk to a student about hygiene before because that can be as disruptive as talking too much or being loud. I sat with her and explained that not only is it disruptive for the class, but it’s also something that will affect her business even after school. I told her it is okay not to wear perfume, etc. if she’s allergic; however, there are things she can do at home to maintain freshness at school.

Lisa-Marie Manderfield, Krush Salon, Kokomo, Ind.


While I was giving a class for Entity Beauty, demonstrating acrylics, there was a student who was constantly disputing every aspect of the technique I was teaching. I asked the students if they would like to take a break. During the break, I used a technique I learned in my other career that we like to call “appealing to the teacher.” (In law enforcement, when using this technique, you can get almost any information out of the person by using this process.) After about 20 minutes of speaking with the student during the break, I found that not only was she not a student, but she had also sneaked into the beauty school to rob them. Needless to say, her time in the class had ended and law enforcement was notified.

Teresa Brinkman, Green Lake, Wis.


I can clearly remember an incident with a student during a new class orientation. By the end of the second day, I could only assume that because the student was the only male registered in the class, he wanted to let the other students know it. On the second day of class he brought in an iPod with hours of video of the salon he owned and its services. I am not sure if he was trying to impress the other students or just wanted them to know that he was a salon owner. Not wanting to derail his mission, I allowed him to show his videos to the students as if it were a show-and-tell moment. That was just the beginning; before the class was over, he stood up started to give a presentation on his success as a salon owner.

I allowed him to have his five minutes of fame, but by the end of the day I quickly came to the conclusion that if he stayed in the program, there would be a lot of chaos. I made the decision to ask him to withdraw and refunded his total tuition and registration fee to avoid the situation from escalating to an uncontrollable problem. I also gave him a list of other schools that might offer the same program, and wished him well. Later in the program, some of my students informed me that the only reason he was at the school was to recruit students for his salon, and he was also planning to start his own school once he got enough information from the program. A couple of years later, I received a call from the same student with an apology for the way he took over my class. He also told me that he did sign up at another school and was pursuing the cosmetology program instead.

Royan Williams, Chicago Nail School, Chicago


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