There are times in class when I am speaking to an individual student in what has now become a rather tense situation. To help me maintain my control so that I avoid making statements I will later regret, I came up with this a simple trick.
I picture the student's parent standing right there with us.
This compelling visual keeps me calm, focused, and professional. I'm thinking:
"What would Mommy want me to say right now?"
She wouldn't mind if I'm firm. She'd actually appreciate that. But sarcasm? Threats? Belittling comments? Rudeness? Don't even think about about it.
Instead, I'm reminded to focus on the issue itself and not the attendant emotional/psychological baggage that sometimes comes along for the ride.
Having Calvin's parents as imaginary witnesses helps to ensure that the comments I make are appropriate ones. I want to be able to repeat them to the parents--word for word and tone for tone--if we have a conference later about the issue of Calvin's behavior.