When any behavioural resolution transaction takes place, it is essential for us, as adults, to be aware of the emotional states of all participants.
There are normally three groups
More often than not, it is the student who is in an agitated and an emotionally stressful state in order that a negative presenting behaviour would be seen. As adults, it is quite important for us not to mirror this elevated emotional state.
This can be quite difficult if we feel that a piece of behaviour is directed towards us personally and that in some way we feel slighted by the child, and that a child has 'done something to us'
"I don't accept that sort of behaviour in my class" "My own children don't speak to me like that, and I don't expect you to do that either" "How dare you speak to me like that"
are indicators that we are taking a piece of behaviour very personally. When this happens, a common reaction is for our emotions to be raised from a calm state to an agitated one. This is a conflict cycle that is best avoided and is rooted in our habits of response. As it is a habit, it is something that can be changed, and a key part of this change is our viewpoint about a piece of behaviour.
Children present behaviours based on how they feel and, although it seems that they are targeting us directly, they are in fact releasing their frustrations and you happen to be somebody who got in the way. Accepting this enables you to look at the behaviour objectively and avoid having a subjective involvement. This detached approach allows you to keep your emotions in check, not to reflect the child's emotions and to ensure that you can act as an impartial facilitator in returning that student back to a calm state.
Behaviour is a reflection of emotional state
It is important to try to return the child to your emotional state (calm), rather than joining them in their emotional state (agitated), and even though, as adults we do have access to the emotional tools to manage this, sometimes we are like the children and are in a process of learning this.
Each negative behaviour a child presents, gives us an opportunity to model how we would like them to behave and manage conflict. Over time, even the most challenging children, given a consistent, non-emotional response to their often very agitated states begin to acquire the tools that they need in order to be able to self-manage their conflicts and periods of stress.
As long as we continue to separate these behaviours from the child and ourselves and treat them as emotional fractures which need repair using the best tools available - language of choice coupled with low emotional state, I believe children will exhibit increasing skill levels in self-management.
Just remember to ask yourself the question after a negative interaction with a student
"How do I feel about that - angry, frustrated, humiliated, helpless"
If you feel angry, that is an inside job, and be prepared for it to take some time for you to manage how you feel and not to take it personally. Coupled with that, it is often the last three feelings that elicit this response.
These others are a matter of structure and strategy - there should always be routes to take that will allow a teacher to manage a child's negative behaviour and elevated emotional state, without having those feelings. Some of these strategies might include the child following some of the classroom exit procedures.
If not, perhaps some personal or group review or reminders of systems might be needed, most systems cover all eventualities, we just may have forgotten to use the whole system and are trying to manage on our own.
It is really important that we act in a coherent and systematic manner towards presented behaviours, rather than taking them on single-handedly, the closed door classroom system of behaviour management. This adds unnecessary pressure on you to be all things to all people at all times - too big an ask for anyone.