Chantelle throws the classroom door open at the end of break, dramatically collapses, head on her desk, coat on and hood over her head. Before you are tempted to open ‘Pandora’s box’ it is worth reminding yourself that:
- The rules are a long way down on her list of priorities
- Chantelle is unlikely to be thinking rationally
- You are unlikely to be able to solve the situation in an instant
- A calm and caring enquiry. ‘Are you ok?’ is your best chance of opening a dialogue
- You may need to leave her and return periodically, breaking down your requests, providing clear choices and easing her into the lesson.
- The ability to control emotions is a skill that develops with age; teenagers’ brains are not fully developed.
- Children’s emotions are fragile. Problems can seem insurmountable, all consuming, life and death and switch in an instant – remember being a teenager?
- You are an adult helping a child to manage their own behaviour
- If Chantelle blows, what comes out is raw emotion, not necessarily directed at you even if you take most of the initial blast.
© Paul Dix 2006