De-escalation Strategy With A Coffee Cup

18 October 2014
Call it an old wive's tale or an untested scientific hypothesis, but bringing a coffee cup to situations with upset students can assist in de-escalating situations with students who are upset.  I know, call me crazy, but this is a theory I can get behind because it is all about a student's own perception.

Just a simple coffee cup.  You don't even need coffee in it.

There was a teacher/administrator who always brought an empty cup of coffee whenever they knew they were entering a tense situation involving students.  There didn't have to be anything in the coffee cup either because the cups normally from Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts and covered with a top.  He'd grab the cup before he left his office, just so he could walk into the situation nonchalantly and without escalating the situation.  

Someone drinking a cup of coffee just looks relaxed; enjoying the taste of finely ground beans, all while the aroma awakens the senses and the caffeine grabs hold of your receptors.

The idea behind this involved student perception.  If students see teachers enter situations with a calm approach (and a cup of coffee) it can immediately change the the entire outlook of the situation.  Students pick up on everything.  They see, hear, and watch everything.  They react to how we interact.

I take my coffee with me everywhere in the building all day long.  I've actually used it in situations like this before too.  Now there's no scientific proof it works, but the idea behind it is brilliant.  Change perception to create a more inviting and positive environment.

Many of you might never have to deal with these situations, but for many this is a weekly occurrence.    And one of the most important elements is de-escalating the situation so students can cope and use strategies to be successful.

So have a cup of coffee. It can be good for everyone.

Thanks so much for stopping by to check out this Bright Idea.  There are over 100 other wonderful ideas that you should continue to check out, so make sure you see all the links below.  

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  1. Brilliant! Will keep calm and carry (my cup) on. Jayne
    Smart Kids

    1. Jayne,
      Thanks so much! You've inspired me to add a little poster! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. What a great idea! Good to know and definitely helpful in escalating situations. Thanks for sharing!
    One Sassy Teacher

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I did this on Friday and didn't even realize it as a strategy! One of our other teachers had a little runner and was completely frazzled trying to contain her. I jumped in to help out and took her by the hand to the teacher's lounge to refill my coffee cup (because I really did NEED coffee lol). Sure enough the little darling calmed right down and spent the day in my room, calm as a clam. Guess my calmness was contagious! It might be good to note though that you should ALWAYS have a spill proof cup with hot liquids - don't want any accidents when someone turns a corner or opens a door suddenly! Thanks for sharing this idea!

    Jennifer @ Herding Kats in Kindergarten

  5. This is a brilliant idea Matt! My principal does this with a large soda cup from Sonic. She carries it at all times. That way she looks friendly, relaxed, and like she was roaming around and just happened upon the situation rather than being "called in". I agree that perception is everything and this really helps!


  6. I love this idea!! I am so going to try this the next time I get called to a "intense" situation!
    Mrs. H's Resource Room

  7. Love this idea - as I tried giving up coffee this summer and have recently returned to it - this is the perfect reason to keep a cup with me at all times. Thanks for the post!

  8. This is such an amazing idea, I've pinned it to share with others! Just amazing how one little thing can change everyone's day!
    Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith's Pinterest Boards!

  9. BRILLIANT! I sent this post out to our district!

    Just love it!

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