In summary

We've covered a lot of ground. In the spirit of promoting healthy relationships with students and lay the foundation for inclusive, healing classroom communities, let's review some key points:


Build relationships with your students. Get to know them. Relationships matter. Every class we teach is a unique opportunity to build a meaningful community with our students.

Understand that disruptive students come with the terrain. Any one of us can experience classroom management issues. It's part of the job.

Act preventively and early on. If you encounter disruption in your classroom and choose to look the other way, it is very possible the disruptive behavior will escalate and adversely impact you as well as your other students.

Strive to address, mitigate, and resolve disruptive behavior as soon and as at the lowest level possible.

Consult with your colleagues, Chair/Coordinator, Dean, and utilize other campus resources at any time in the process to gain support and get a "second opinion". You are welcome to reach out at any point in the process. You are not alone.

Know yourself, including your personal threshold and triggers, and whenever you need it, access self-care resources that will provide support and help manage your emotions. Doing so is a sign of strength and professionalism.

Uphold healthy and professional classroom boundaries for your own benefit as well as the benefit your students.

Role model good life skills for your student by providing constructive feedback at times of conflict.

Try to build rapport, and understand and collaborate with students whenever possible.

Familiarize yourself with College policies (such as FERPA and Title IX), and resources (such as the Harper College Police and Student Conduct Officer).


Look the other way when classroom disruption unfolds. Think preventively. Low-level issues can rapidly grow into prolonged, high-level issues that are generally more time consuming and may be more difficult for everyone involved.

Judge or diagnose disruptive students. You still have a relationship with student. When you address disruption, the conversation is about behavior, not about labeling or "writing off" the student as a person.

Personalize disruptive student behavior or become defensive when disruption occurs. I know - it's easier said than done. But, being professional in demeanor is not only part of our jobs, it's something that helps to mitigate disruption.

Hesitate to use appropriate resources, such as the Harper Police, Conduct Officer, HEAT, your Dean, Chair or Coordinator, etc.. You're not "getting a student in trouble", you're collaborating with campus partners.

Try to handle everything on your own. Classroom management is both an individual responsibility AND a team effort.

Engage in unhealthy relationships with disruptive students (i.e. take on the role of confident, friend, parent or caretaker, therapist, police, parent, conduct officer, etc..).

Allow your boundaries to become unclear in a way that will compromise your instructional relationship and responsibilities to your students. In other words, stay in the "teaching" lane.

Avoid addressing disruptive behavior because you are concerned about reprisals (i.e. getting a student "in trouble", being negatively perceived by your Dean or Chair/Coordinator, concerns about campus politics, etc..).