Four Kinds of Difficult Online Students & Ways to Handle Them

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When it comes to handling difficult students in an online or physical classroom, make sure to remember that just because one is acting out does not necessarily mean they are bad. They may need a tad more attention or a platform where they can vent their enthusiasm and energy out – you will be able to bring these students back on track with appropriate effort.

Mentioned below are a few common kinds of difficult students and ways to handle them without face-to-face interaction. Please check them out now.

Two-for-One Student

Through little fault of their own, some students hardly come to the class alone. They have family members watching them or conducting chores in the background.

Be it the overambitious parent who always wishes to keep an eye on the child, a spouse cooking breakfast, a sibling doing cartwheels, or a dog barking – they tend to be distracting for the teacher.

You may request your students to move to a quiet location or ask them to turn their camera and microphone off. Just be sure not to leave them out when playing games or taking quizzes.


These students are known for escaping or disappearing from the class after giving attendance. For a teacher, staring at an empty office or bedroom or shouting out can be a source of frustration.

Rather than assuming that the student is not paying attention intentionally, try to make the class as interactive as possible. Ask each student questions in between so that they would be compelled to remain present.

Do not be scared to organize scavenger hunts or other games. These, after all, allow young students to utilize all of their stamina while still practicing the English vocabulary.


These students are primarily young who find using a webcam exciting. They bring their face or other objects too close to the camera just for fun. Some students move around with their phone, laptop, or tablet to shoot a sort of home movie or to give you a tour of their room.

If you have a student, who is excessively fascinated with the camera, use their enthusiasm by asking them to show relevant objects to the entire class. Teach them the difference between near and far by telling them to bring their face close to the camera and then move it away.

On-Go Learner

These students take the class wherever they go – be it to a cafeteria, grocery store, restaurant, or car. The on-go learners usually remain distracted and end up disturbing the teacher with background noise as well as an unsteady internet connection.

You may prevent this issue by adhering to the school’s policy. Most of the schools do not allow students to attend classes unless they are in a quiet area with proper internet.

The experts carrying out online English teaching in China for several years emphasized the significance of staying calm under all circumstances. You are the teacher; hence, you must set a positive example in the classroom. Remember, with a proper attitude and series of innovative strategies, even the most challenging students can sometimes emerge to be your brightest pupils.


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