Have I Done Something to Offend You?

By Kathy Reeves
31 August, 2016


Students filed into my classroom with the usual amount of lively conversation and activity. They picked up their science notebooks and sat down to begin their daily writing assignment. I was just beginning the Science Starter of the day when one of the students erupted, apparently triggered by a comment from another student. "Shut up!" he yelled at the student behind him. He turned, saw the look on my face, and shouted, "This school is stupid and I hate it here!"

I had been teaching long enough, and had made enough mistakes, to know the 3 most important things when dealing with an angry classroom outburst:

1. Remain calm.

2. Don't take it personally.

3. Take the conversation outside.

I had recently attended a "Capturing Kids Heart's" training by the Flippen Group where they suggested asking a specific question in these situations. This was the perfect opportunity to test it.

I spoke slowly and quietly when I asked him to step out into the hall. I paused for a minute as we stood outside the classroom door and then asked, "Have I done something to offend you?"

The change in his body language was immediate. His face softened. "No," he said and then went on to explain why he had reacted the way he did.

I have used this or similar questions many times since then, and it always helps to diffuse the situation.

What strategies do you find most effective for managing student outbursts?

Subscribe to our blog to receive more teaching tips and free downloads.   

Check out the Science Sidekicks (grades 3-5), the Science Starters (grades 6-8), Biology Starters or Chemistry Starters with a Free Trial!

Science Sidekick Demo Lesson (grades 3-5)

Science Starter Demo Lesson (grades 6-8)

Biology Demo Lesson

Chemistry Demo Lesson

Request a Quote



Currently there are no comments
Back To Scientific Minds Home


To receive email notifications, enter your email address and click subscribe.We will never share your information.

Blog Search