Anger in the Classroom Part II

One more bit to add about the anger stuff. A teacher I work with is legendary for his rage. When he gets mad at a kid for behavior he considers beyond the pale (like the time a student put a “kick me” sign on the back of one of our severe needs kids), he loses it. He takes the kid out in the hall and yells so loudly that we can hear it in my room, and I'm four full rooms away.

Honestly, it would scare the crap out of me to get reamed like that, so I imagine it's true for the kids as well. That's one of the reasons I'm resolving to yell less and try to not get so angry – I hear how the students talk about him and I just don't want to be known that way.

I'm not saying that when kids do dumb or inappropriate stuff they shouldn't have consequences, because they should; that kick me sign was deeply not okay and the student involved needed to know that, but I don't think that yelling did anything to change that student's future behavior. I think all it did was humiliate him and make him hate the teacher involved.

I'm also not saying that we should make decisions about our behavior based solely on how students will react, or that we should worry about our reputations too much, but, again, I believe that I can be more effective as a teacher if my kids like and respect me, and they'll like and respect me more if I treat them with compassion and respect.

A few weeks ago I read this great book (and I'll post about it more extensively coming up because I loved it so so much) that Angela Watson from The Cornerstone Blog recommended. It was short and simple, just some advice about fourteen things that great teachers do differently. The whole book really resonated with me, but one part in particular stood out for me – the section on treating everyone with respect.

Whitaker writes, “If everyone in a school is treated with respect and dignity, you may have nothing special. However, if everyone in a school is not treated with respect and dignity, you will never have anything special. Of that I am sure.”

I want to have something special in my classroom, and so I need to make sure I treat everyone with respect. The change I personally need to make to ensure that happens is to reduce my anger and my yelling.

(Photo credit to bethany actually)


"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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