When Your Students Push Your Buttons Workshop

A Teacher Workshop for professional development

Ask Bonnie to present her acclaimed Buttons teacher workshop for your teachers to learn how to deal more effectively with the students who push their buttons.

Based on the book and professional training of When Your Kids Push Your Buttons by Bonnie Harris, When Your Students Push Your Buttons has been adapted by Bonnie Harris, Julianne Desrochers, Wendy Hill, and Jennifer Wilson-Tucker

When Your Students Push Your Buttons is available in two programs for teachers and administrators of:

  • preschool and kindergarten children
  • elementary and middle school children

Why When Your Students Push Your Buttons?

Is your goal to get your students to mind you and keep the classroom calm so you can teach the way you want? Or is it to help develop real people who care about one another, are eager and excited learners, are able to meet their innate potential, and are capable of contributing to the world?

Does your button get pushed when a student:

  • isn’t listening to you
  • is disturbing others in the class
  • is messy
  • can’t keep still
  • talks out of turn
  • has a poor attitude
  • says he doesn’t care
  • says she hates school
  • laughs at you
  • says “You can’t make me” in response to your requests?


Does your button get pushed when parents:

  • accuse you of labeling their child
  • overprotect their child
  • can’t bear their child’s failure
  • come in with a chip on their shoulder
  • miss appointments with you or are consistently late
  • turn the meeting into a session about them
  • want to spend a lot of time in your room?

Overview and Objectives:

This is the workshop that supports and helps educators do their job the way they want. This work doesn’t add more to a teacher’s plate or ask a teacher to teach or discipline in a new way. It addresses what leads to daily exhaustion and frustration in the classroom so that at the end of the day, teachers will feel more relaxed and students will be more able to learn.

This workshop is designed to raise awareness of the assumptions and expectations educators hold about students and themselves, which result in ineffective reactions to student behavior, and to take responsibility for those assumptions and expectations. Then, by using Buttons principles to reframe these assumptions into objectivity and conscious intentions, old habits can be broken, boundaries are clarified, authority is maintained, energy is regained, and connection with students and their parents is fostered.

When Your Students Push Your Buttons: Agenda

Part 1 is a five-hour day covering the following agenda. Part 2, if desired, is an additional five-hour day given several months later for deepening the work with new concepts, strengthening the progress from Part 1, and addressing successes and failures in the application of Part 1.

The workshop includes interactive working groups, exercises, role-play as well as lecture and visuals. Each participant receives a workbook for personal use, exercises, and future referral.

Workshop participants will learn how to:

  • identify their buttons and what they trigger
  • change their perceptions by controlling the trigger
  • reframe their assumptions to reduce their reaction
  • promote success and harmony in the classroom
  • defuse their buttons and move from reaction to response
  • bridge the communication gap with their students and student’s parents

Part 1 includes:

  • Understanding the 5 Core Principles
  • How to Recognize Your Buttons: Understanding “automatics” and catastrophizing
  • Your Agenda / Your Student’s Agenda: Finding the balance
  • The Gap and How to Narrow It: Changing unintended messages that fuel conflict
  • The Emotional Chain Reaction: Learning where the anger comes from
  • The Roots of Behavior: Addressing the cause, not punishing the behavior
  • Recognizing Your Assumptions: Paying attention to “automatics”
  • Reframing Your Assumptions and Changing Your Perceptions: It’s all about us
  • The 8 Habits to Defusing Your Buttons: Steps to follow to change old habits

Suggested Time: 5-hour workshop

Part 2 includes:

  • Sharing War Stories
  • Successes and Failures
  • Interactive Coaching/Applying the Principles
  • Examining Your Expectations of Your Students
  • Setting Expectations for Success
  • Creating Your Teacher Mission Statement

Suggested Time: 5-hour workshop, a few months after completion of Part 1

For observation and consultation in the classroom, at conferences, with individual teachers and administrators, please contact Bonnie Harris at bh@bonnieharris.com