Picture this scenario:
Jamie has struggled getting through typing an assignment for you. He is not a good typist and complained bitterly about having to do this work, despite your constant cajoling, encouraging and answering of his questions. When he finishes, (you have already begun instruction for the next stage of the project), Jamie announces that he has to go to the other side of the building to pick up his print of his work- now! If he leaves, he will miss more instruction. How will you respond?
Depending on your reaction, this relatively small situation could spiral into a behavioral crisis. Crisis is the product of a child’s (or student’s) stress that is kept alive by the actions and reactions of others. When a student’s feelings are aroused by stress, s/he learns to behave in ways that shield her/him from painful feelings. Often these behaviors are inappropriate. It is often the teacher’s response that can determine whether the conflict escalates or not.
(Long, Wood, & Fecser, 2001) identified seven reasons or circumstances that trigger “acts of counteraggression” from adults. Answering aggression with aggression is most likely to happen if adults:
- Get caught up in the Conflict Cycle
- Believe that their personal and cherished values are being violated.
- Are in a bad mood.
- Feel as if they are not meeting professional expectations.
- Feel rejected and helpless.
- Prejudge a student in crisis.
- Have personal unfinished or unresolved psychological issues.
With so many factors potentially influencing actions and reactions, there is only one thing that is certain: You have the power to control your own behavior. The better you are able to stay calm, maintain your professional demeanor and remember that students behaviors mistakes are really teaching opportunities, the better and more effective your response to difficult situations and behaviors will be.
Stop. Take a breath. Look with calm eyes on the situation.
-Taken from Well Managed Schools, Strategies to Create a Productive and Cooperative Social climate in your Learning Community.