I've taught in inner city and rural districts. I've taught young children and middle school children. I've had all kinds of encounters, and, quite frankly, lots of attitude. I don't deal with it: it usually goes away. But I understand how tough those kids can be, and the kind of ongoing challenge it can be.
I spent several days honing my skills at Applied Behavior Analysis here in the Clark County Schools, and I decided to apply those tools to the issues of "attitude." I have written an article that I hope will help those of you struggling with difficult children get a handle on the attitude.
Sometimes, of course, you just need to sass back, and the laughter will clear up the problem . . . but I think that requires that you build a relationship of trust and honesty, which will require that you attend to the things that make for a successful and well run classroom.