How to Stay Calm While Managing Behavior in the Classroom

Ever felt 'triggered' by student behavior? Here are 4 steps to remain calm while managing behavior in the classroom.


We’ve all had those moments in the classroom when our students’ behavior seems to spiral out of control. The tension rises, your chest tightens, your breath quickens, and every fiber of your being screams to react. If you’ve experienced this, you’ve been triggered, and it’s more common than you think. Many teachers are triggered by student behavior without even realizing it. Whether it’s students talking over you, invading your personal space, or disrupting the class, staying calm can be challenging. In this post, we’re going to explore how to remain composed while managing behavior in the classroom. Let’s dive in!

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#1 Awareness

The first step is to have an awareness of when you become dysregulated. It’s important to approach this with a neutral state and be curious about why you become dysregulated. When you start to understand your triggers, you can then validate your feelings and remind yourself that you’re okay and that you’re not alone. Taking a few deep breaths and focusing on your own well-being can help you become more present and more in control of your emotions.

#2 Validate

After recognizing your trigger, you must validate your feelings. It’s essential to acknowledge what’s happening without self-criticism. Remind yourself that you are safe and it’s okay to experience these emotions. You’re not alone; many teachers face similar challenges.
Never label yourself as a “bad teacher” for feeling this way. It’s a human reaction, and it’s perfectly normal. Remember to take a few deep breaths.

#3 Calm Your Body

Once you’ve validated your feelings, it’s time to regulate your nervous system. Find a way to calm your breathing and bring yourself back to the present moment. Try techniques like breathing in for four counts and out for six counts. Observe and point out objects in your classroom, anchoring yourself in the here and now. Return to a state of neutrality before responding.

#4 Respond

Respond only when you are calm, neutral, and detached from the outcome. Reacting while in a heightened emotional state often worsens the situation. Students can sense when you’re upset, which can amplify their emotions. For example, if a student is out of their seat, follow these steps: Recognize you’re triggered, validate your feelings, calm your body, and then ask the student to sit down and raise their hand if they have a question. Call on them once they’ve adjusted their behavior.


In summary, here’s how to maintain your composure while managing behavior in the classroom:

  • #1 Recognize: Identify when you’re triggered.
  • #2 Validate: Acknowledge your feelings without criticism.
  • #3 Calm your Body: Regulate your nervous system to return to neutrality.
  • #4 Respond: React when you’re calm and detached from the outcome.

The next time you find yourself triggered by a classroom situation, apply these steps. If you want to dive deeper into classroom management, you’re invited to download our “Mastering Your Classroom Guide” for comprehensive tips on procedures, managing inattentive students, and handling chatty classes.

And if you feel the desire to explore further, consider joining our “Mastering Classroom Management Challenge,” a free 3-day challenge designed to help you master your classroom effectively.

At the end, if you’re eager for more, check out “The Present Teacher Circle,” a community focused on implementing systems to prevent or overcome burnout.

As always remember:


Helena <3