How to Manage a Student in Crisis – A Teacher’s Guide
How to Manage a Student in Crisis – A child’s behavior in crisis can take many forms: They will fight, take flight, or freeze; it’s called the amygdala hijack, a medium-sized term for big feelings and reactions. No amount of immediate rationalizing will flip an off-switch, and the kids know this on some level; they are trying to deal with the moment in whatever way they have learned to do so.
Managing a Student in Crisis
It can be difficult to manage a student in crisis, but there are some things you can do to help. First, try to remain calm yourself. This will help the student feel calmer and more able to listen to you.
Second, try to get the student to talk about what is wrong and how they are feeling. This will help you understand the situation and see how best to help them.
Third, provide support and reassurance. Let the student know that you are there for them and that they are not alone.
Fourth, offer coping strategies. Help the student find ways to deal with their feelings so that they can begin to calm down. Fifth, involve other people if necessary.
The Role of Teachers in Emotional Behavior
In order for teachers to help students during an emotional behavioral crisis, it is important for them to understand the role they play. Teachers are not responsible for fixing the student’s problems, but they are responsible for providing a safe and supportive environment.
When a student is in crisis, their ability to think logically and make decisions is impaired. As a result, it is important for teachers to provide structure and support during this time. It is also important for teachers to be aware of their own reactions and how they might be impacting the situation. Lastly, it is crucial for teachers to follow up with the student after the crisis has passed.
Recognize when you need help from other support systems
If you feel like you can’t handle the situation on your own, it’s important to reach out for help from other support systems. This could include the student’s parents, school counselors, or outside therapy.
It’s important to have a plan in place so that you know who to contact and what steps to take. In some cases, it may be necessary to call 911. If you are ever in doubt, err on the side of caution and get help from professionals.
They will provide you with the tools needed to de-escalate situations, such as being able to provide emergency first aid or CPR. You may also want to keep medications at your desk (e.g., anti-anxiety medication) for emergencies where those skills won’t suffice.
Non-Verbal Signs That Tell You Something is Wrong
It can be hard to tell when a student is in crisis. They may not want to talk about what’s going on, or they may not even know how to express what they’re feeling. But there are some non-verbal cues that can give you a clue that something is wrong. Here are three of them
- – If your student has the deer in the headlights look and won’t make eye contact with you it could mean they feel paralyzed and don’t know what to do next.
- – If your student starts showing anger, sometimes by hitting themselves or punching their desk this could mean they are either at their limit or looking for a release.
- – If your student starts taking flight and walking away from class without any explanation this could mean they need space because it’s too much.
Verbal Indicators that show your student needs support
1. I can’t do this.
Your student has given up before they’ve even tried. This is a sign of low self-confidence and could be indicative of deeper issues.
2. It’s not fair.
Your student is feeling overwhelmed and powerless. They may need help finding a sense of control over their situation.
3. I’m not good enough.
Your student feels like they’re constantly falling short. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and inferiority.
4. Nobody likes me.
Your student feels isolated and alone. They may need help finding ways to connect with others.
Strategies for Preventing Stress Meltdowns
- 1. Find out what sets off your students’ stressors and try to avoid them as much as possible.
- 2. Be consistent with your expectations and routines.
- 3. Use positive reinforcement frequently.
- 4. Keep calm yourself and provide a calm environment for your students.
- 5. Know when to call for help and have a plan in place for when crises happen.
It is also important for students to know how and when they can call you. Let them know what hours you are available and have your phone on silent so that it doesn’t disturb classes.
If you can’t be reached during an emergency, make sure that they know who else they can contact. It is also a good idea to develop an action plan together with parents and school counselors so that everyone knows what happens if things go wrong at home or with friends during break times or after school hours.
Creating a Caring Environment
A safe and supportive environment is crucial for students in crisis. Teachers can create such an environment by establishing trust, maintaining open communication, and providing structure and stability. It’s also important to be consistent with expectations and rules.
Students in crisis need to know that they are cared for and that their teachers are there to help them through tough times. Many of the techniques teachers use to keep their classrooms running smoothly work well for students in crisis:
- -Establishing clear boundaries:
- -Setting clear limits and expectations;
- -Focusing on positive reinforcements;
- -Providing opportunities for collaboration and teamwork;
What if you are unable to control the student?
If you are unable to control the student, it is important to remain calm and call for help. Do not try to physically restrain the student, as this could escalate the situation. Instead, try to keep the student safe and contained until help arrives. If the situation becomes violent, evacuate the area and call 911.
Remaining in the building can put yourself or others at risk of injury. It is important to have an emergency plan for handling crisis situations before they happen so that your team has a procedure to follow:
- 1. Determine who should handle the situation
- 2. Determine where to go
- 3. Decide how to get there
- 4. Decide what to do with any students who will be following
- 5. Discuss with staff members how they will handle themselves during a crisis
- 6. Review your plan periodically
When a child is experiencing an amygdala hijack, the best thing a teacher can do is remain calm and provide support. In the moment, it may be difficult to understand what the child is going through, but by remaining patient and providing guidance, you can help them through this tough time. If you have any concerns about a child’s behavior, please reach out to their parents or guardians, or a school counselor for more support.