Sometimes you need a student removed, before a situation becomes a power struggle. I had a pact with a partner or team teacher that I could send students to their room to calm down and reflect on their behavior. If I did send a student out of the room, I would always send them with this behavior reflection form.
One of the things that changed my approach to teaching was when I learned about the adolescent brain. Their thinking comes from a place of emotion rather than a fully developed pre-frontal cortex like that found in an adult’s brain. Therefore, when we ask tweens and teens, “What were you thinking?” and they say, “I don’t know” they are most likely being honest with you. More than harsh consequences, our young people need time to reflect on negative behaviors, so they can create a plan for dealing with similar situations in the future.
This reflection sheet from Emily’s Post will help you deal with those rare times you feel that you have entered into a power struggle. While remaining emotionally calm, you can tell the student that you think you both need a time out. Give them the behavior reflection sheet to fill out in another room or area of your classroom. I found this reflection sheet also works well when tensions arise between two students.