As a professional, you are expected to stay in control.  You can determine whether a confrontation grows or dies.  Most confrontations last only about 30 seconds. Students cause confrontations for different reasons, including attempts to get attention, boredom, frustration, family or personal problems, loss of control, drugs or alcohol, medication,  lack of medication, or fear.  Confrontations could also be caused by change, diet, cycles, a full moon, boy or girl problems, or even a bad hair day. The best thing you can do is to walk away and come back in a few minutes.  Even good students may become irrational when placed under great pressure.  It does not hurt to look at the student and say, “This is not like you. I’ll be back in a few minutes, and we can discuss the matter.”  This gives the student the opportunity to calm down.

If the student is always a problem or is dangerous, any action by you could bring on injury or worse.  Again, you can use the same line: “I’ll come back in a minute.”  Remember, you have the last word.  Neither your life nor your career should be jeopardized by getting into a fight with a student.