There are some rude students out there. Not too long ago I was visiting a college campus and I overheard a student reaming out an employee working in the Registration area over an issue that was obviously out of her control.

I was amazed at how well the employee handled the student. She didn’t get caught up in the emotions and she remained calm and composed. After the employee left, I complimented the employee on her expertise in diffusing the situation and actually having the student end up apologizing to her for his behavior. She told me her technique for remaining calm and letting the student vent was to remember that each student is an individual. She imagines as many negative things as she can that the student may have gone through before coming to her that day: a flat tire, a fight with a girlfriend/boyfriend, a sleepless night, an overbearing boss, etc. She sees her job as trying to make that person’s day better than it was before interacting with her.

By treating the student with respect, empathy, and dignity, she inspires them to behave well. She thinks of them as a wonderful person which she says they often want to live up to her expectations. It makes her day more rewarding. And it certainly makes their day to find someone who can help turn their attitude around.