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Strategies for Dealing with Angry Students Outside the Classroom

 

How this meeting goes will depend upon your interpersonal skills as well as the student’s ability to develop rapport and participate in a calm discussion.
 
  • Remain calm and speak in a controlled manner.
  •   Try not to take it personally. 
  •   Acknowledge that the student is angry.
  •  Tell the student that if they calm down it will be easier for you to help them.
  • Empathize with the student’s frustration, while explaining the University policy, rule or requirement. Empathic statement examples include, “I can see that you’re upset by this” or “This feels like it’s really important to you.
  • Let them know what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T do.
  • Recognize that, while for some students empathy will transform the situation, for others, nothing you say or do will get through to them.  
  •  If you feel like you can’t respond to the student’s needs, offer to arrange for them to meet with a supervisor. This may encourage them to “cool down” before addressing the issue again.
  •   Afterward, be sure to debrief with a colleague or supervisor and attend to your stress and your needs. 

 

How this meeting goes will depend upon your interpersonal skills as well as the student’s ability to develop rapport and participate in a calm discussion.
 
  • Remain calm and speak in a controlled manner.
  •   Try not to take it personally. 
  •   Acknowledge that the student is angry.
  •  Tell the student that if they calm down it will be easier for you to help them.
  • Empathize with the student’s frustration, while explaining the University policy, rule or requirement. Empathic statement examples include, “I can see that you’re upset by this” or “This feels like it’s really important to you.
  • Let them know what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T do.
  • Recognize that, while for some students empathy will transform the situation, for others, nothing you say or do will get through to them.  
  •  If you feel like you can’t respond to the student’s needs, offer to arrange for them to meet with a supervisor. This may encourage them to “cool down” before addressing the issue again.
  •   Afterward, be sure to debrief with a colleague or supervisor and attend to your stress and your needs.