“What are your tips for when you get really really angry so that you can be a professional, an adult, and do the right thing?”
I have to admit that in 30 years of teaching, I think I have only been furious twice and super angry once. When I get furious, I cry and when I cry, watch out! I remember even going into my assistant principal’s office, shutting the door and warning him that I was going to cry because I was so furious. He looked kind of worried but I let him know my feelings. Another time I remember yelling at my students at the zoo but because I had “lost” them and I was so worried about them. Later I even apologized for my behavior but it was one that they never forgot and even passed the word on to students in years after.
I don’t feel like losing my cool is a good way to be a role model for my students. I am supposed to show them that there is an appropriate way to handle their emotions. By losing my cool, I am showing them how not to behave. Yet, I think I also showed them that I was human too. I wasn’t proud of myself during these time but it is in the past and there is nothing I can do about it.
During one of those furious times, I remember needing to move around physically to defuse my emotions. My classroom was in a portable behind the school (where they usually delegated special education self contained classes). After lunch, my class resumed and I had a horrible encounter with a fellow colleague. I had to tell my class to begin their classwork while I walked laps around the building. They all were quite concerned about me but before long, I was able to return and apologize for needing some space.
Even though I think I didn’t set a good example for a role model, I did show them one way to deal with my anger which didn’t involve violent behavior or words to another person.
I think it would be a good idea to help students plan for this type of situation. Ask them to think about a time when they were so furious. Talk about inappropriate behavior they might show as a reaction to this anger. Then discuss appropriate ways to handle anger. Even role play how to act this way. I think the more practice they have with the behavior; the easier it will be to actually act this way if the situation ever occurs. We hope the same thing happens when we do fire or tornado drills.
How do you handle your anger? How do you explain it to your students? What behavior do you show in order to be a positive role model for your students? Please share.