Saturday, September 19, 2009

Anger management

You don't need to be a teacher to know there are a lot of angry people out there. ANGRY people, I mean. This isn't your run-of-the-mill annoyed feeling. Serious issues at work here.

So here we come to another afternoon yard duty story. A fourth grade boy had jumped on his bike and was riding around on campus. Which is not allowed for safety reasons. They need to be off campus and a quarter of a block away at the corner before getting on their bikes.

So I spotted this kid and I called out to stop them. Most of the time, GE students are pretty compliant. They know the rules, they don't want to run over somebody, they just forget sometimes because getting out of a long day of school just feels too awesome. Well, that's what afternoon yard duty is for, and that's fine.

But this kid didn't stop. He was still a few yards away when another teacher joined me in calling out and approaching him. He still was on his bike. The other students looked around and stared. Finally my CT joined us too and it took all three of us to persuade him off his bike. My CT told the kid to walk back to the bike racks and do it again properly.

Which is fair, right? I thought so.

So this kid STOMPS back to the bike racks, throws his bike and backpack to the ground. He fumes and shouts complaints to a passerby kid who was kind enough (and innocent enough) to ask what was wrong.

I shooed Angry Boy's friends out the gate, where they waited while my CT handled Angry Boy.

"He is piiiiiiiissed." commented Angry Boy's friend #1, under his breath.

"He is so pissed. He'll be mad to get a citation." commented Angry Boy's friend #2.

I was pretty glad my CT dealt with Angry Boy and not me. Not that I wouldn't have stepped up, but it's always an unpleasant thing to do. I know this well. Remember Jerry*? He had anger management issues too.

Angry Boy has a quiet discussion with my CT for a while, then he stomps off out the gate, not even turning to speak to his friends, who follow after him rather sympathetically. Angry Boy did not receive a citation for the bike riding that day, however.

"I have not seen a kid that angry in over ten years. I'm going to remember him for a good long time. He'll probably end up in my class next year too." said my CT.

My CT seemed rather exhausted when he said that, and I would be too. But I also see it as a mark of an exceptional teacher: when the principal sticks you with the most troubled students. It's one of those things that are great, yet not so great at the same time.

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