Yesterday, in the after school program, one of my students was kind of annoying me. She was supposed to be playing chess with another one of my students. For some reason, she has this obnoxious habit of making loud noises like a moose mating call. Sorry. That's how much it annoys me. I told her to quit it. So, she says "quit what?" So, I mimicked the noise that she was making. That was an impulsive and counterproductive reaction on my part. It was counterproductive because when I mimicked her, it doesn't get her focused on what behavior she should be discontinuing. It gets her focused on her enjoyment of an adult copying her. She just laughed when I did that. But, why did I mimic her? Well, it was partly because I let her get to me, but it was also because I genuinely wanted to show her what she was doing.
I thought about it today. There's a better and more obvious way for how I should have reacted. This is how I would have reacted differently:
Me: "Stop making that noise."
Her: "What noise?"
Me: "You know what I'm talking about. You've been putting your hands on your face and making that noise with your mouth. Here's the deal. You don't need to make that noise to play chess and its distracting. If you make that noise one more time. You can't play chess anymore."
Why is that better than mimicking her? For starters, I'm not really giving her something to laugh about. Hence, it makes addressing her behavior that much more serious. Also, if she truly wants to play chess, then she'll have an incentive to stop making that noise. Otherwise, she can do something else which is welcoming of her making those moose-like mating calls.