An angry teacher is a scary teacher. Ask anyone and he will say the same. We all have had our share of being victimized by angry teachers who refuse to keep a check on their emotion. They comfortably take it all out on students, without concern and care about the aftermath of their insensitive, intense, negative, destructive outbursts of anger. The scars left by angry teachers are permanent, psychological, and subconsciously harmful.
Although teachers are humans who undergo a variety of life stresses, frustrations, and private conflicts, getting angry and showing this anger in a destructive way to students is by no means a justifiable act. It is important to acknowledge and experience anger, but there are ways to dealing with it in a more constructive manner. The following steps would help teachers to handle and deal with their anger with caution:
- Acknowledge that you are angry – becoming aware of angry moments or anger in general.
- Deliberately make a way to cool down – time-out (“I will come back in 5 minutes,” or “We will start the lesson in 5 minutes.”); deliberately behaving positively despite the anger will eventually help you to become positive and more controlled.
- Verbalize the anger – expressing anger is different from displacing it on someone helpless or less authoritative than yourself. Verbalization of anger helps you to channel the intense energy that accompanies the anger into something more positive. Verbalizing also helps you not to focus too long on the anger itself. Rather, as you begin talking about the feeling of anger, it might become clear to you that it’s not worth to dwell on the particularly negative approach to dealing with the issue at hand.
The students of PSYC384 (first semester, 2007) presented the following suggestions to prevent anger in the classroom:
- Prepare well for lessons – there is no substitute to preventing problems in the classroom by having a good lesson planned for the students – activities, stimulating questions, open-ended tasks, inquiry, etc.; there are two types of preparation: one type of preparation deals with the day-to-day getting ready for the class to teach lessons. Another type of preparation deals with an on-going watchfulness of a teacher – for example, I read all sorts of books, magazines, internet materials; watch documentaries, movies, etc., all in the hope to gather ideas for my future lessons or for whenever they are needed. As a teacher, I am constantly thinking about making lessons interesting. This is known as an on-going preparation.
- Continual learning – being flexible, resourceful, inventive and re-inventive; making lessons interesting is crucial to prevent disruption in behavior among students. When boredom sets in, students use their energies in things that do not help them benefit from the learning experiences provided in the classroom.
- Have a positive attitude at all times – take it easy; remember that not every lesson will be fantastic (gauge students’ emotion and your emotion and mental conditions – be realistic).
- Focus on positive rather than negative.
- Develop high level of teacher efficacy (the belief that everything that you do, say, feel, etc. in the classroom affect students in significant, permanent ways); hold high, realistic, positive expectation for all.
- Regulate emotion – acting happy will help you become happy; postpone action/decisions when in anger; give yourself a time-out.
- Communicate the anger to your students in a constructive, harmless way (be honest, but tactful).
- Remember that it’s okay to be a human! – so, express your anger within the right framework.