I have had to learn over time how to react and control my emotions when a student is defiant. Early in my teaching, my anger would boil up when a student openly defied me. Over time, however, I have learned that reacting with anger and yelling is unproductive.
Steps to Handle Defiance:
Move On (Secretly Wait & Take Deep Breaths)After asking a student to do something, such as leave the room, I don't stand there stopping the whole class in a stalemate. I move on with the lesson. Now really I am giving some wait time to the situation. Some students need more time to process what is happening and comply to the directive. I also am calming myself down. No matter how many times a student is defiant to me in front of a class, it triggers a fight or flight mechanism in me, and usually the "fight" mechanism. If I give in to anger, then I've lost control of myself and the class. I will get nowhere with the student and will most likely lose respect from the class. One way I've learned to pacify this response is to meditate or breath. I have gotten to the point where I don't even try to hide it in front of students--I hope they see it as a positive way to regain control.
ThinkWhile I'm continuing with class, I am really trying to figure out what happened and decide how necessary it is to follow through with a class removal. If a student has done something very disruptive and the student's presence is still a disruption to the learning environment (and all my other management tricks are not working), I may call the Dean's office or principal and ask for an administrator to come get the student. However, if it is something like a student refusing to put away his/her phone and he/she is sitting quietly in class, there is no need for class removal. After nine years in the classroom, I have seen plenty of disruption. I have seen many students storm out of the classroom and many others refuse to leave their seat. I have never seen a student refuse to leave their seat and continue to disrupt the class. Although the defiance is something that needs to be discussed eventually, there is no need to remove a student by force if he/she is not disrupting the class or causing harm to themselves or others.
Discuss PrivatelyIf it seems as though the student has calmed down and there is a moment where students are working and I can talk to the defiant student privately, I may go over to discuss the issue with him/her. It is often the case that the student is not ready to talk to me. I may write a note or give distance until the next class period (if someone is too angry to talk to me later in the class period, they will probably not be calmed down for a while). If they refuse to interact with me and sit quietly for the rest of class, even if they continue to disobey the cell phone rule, I let it go. I have confidence that my other students know that I will work with that student and that using your phone in class is not acceptable.
When I do talk to the student, I do not discuss the incident right away or speak to them with anger in my voice. I ask them how they are doing, if they've had a bad day or if something has gone on that upset them. If a student is furious because you want them to put away their phone, there's probably a deeper issue going on.
Think Again and InvestigateAfter my class has ended, I'll have more time to try to better understand what happened. I'll check in with the student's advisor, other teachers (particularly those right before my class) and the Dean. I may or may not contact the student's parents that night--depending on how that would make the student react. I also may email the student. A lot of what I do depends on what I think will work with that individual student--getting to know students ahead of time, therefore, is key!
Make a PlanTypically by the next day, the student has calmed down and can talk. Again, I don't address the situation in terms of what the student has done wrong, but more about what is going on and why the student was so upset. If the problem is something that re-occurs, I would work out a system so the student and I can deal with the issues in a proactive manner.
For example, I once had a student who would storm out of class angrily, yelling at me and the co-teacher. After eating lunch with her and talking, it became clear that sometimes she had a bad day and my redirection was the last straw. We came up with a plan that when she felt like storming out, she would ask permission and I would always say yes. We continued to develop a plan where she would go visit the Dean and give her a candy or cookie (yes, this was our plan--I was pregnant and always had cookies at my desk!). Over time, the student gained control of her reactions and our relationship improved instead of deteriorated.