reflection, students

They Send Me the Angry Ones

I tend to get the angry ones.  You know the ones; they shout, kick, fume and hold their jaw just so, hoping you will push them over that cliff.  They show up in my room all smiles and ready to go but within a day or two, I see something else, that torrent of emotion, that distrust that has consumed their whole school experience, just waiting to unleash on me.  So I smile, and I trust, and I go home and think about what I will do with this angry child who needs me more than others.

I didn’t know I would be ok with the angry ones at first, but I am.  In fact, my first year of teaching I got one of the angriest ones I have ever met and I loved that child like he was my own.  Now I don’t worry when I see the file, the reports, the suspensions and recommendations, because I know what has happened in the past will stay there and together we will carve a new path.  And I smile laugh rather than yell even when my very last button has been pushed and pushed and pushed because in the end that is all there is to do.  That child already has enough anger for the both of us.

So the angry ones keep on coming and they bring new stories of broken relationships and reasons why school just isn’t for them.  And we listen, and we nod, and we take note and look for that kid that is still in there somewhere.  And we hope that they leave us a little less angry, a little more trusting, a little more ready for the next step in life.  In the end, that is all we can do; hope and believe.  Hope we must because the angry ones needs us as well and believe we have to because someone has to believe that there is still a chance.  Even for the angry ones.

3 thoughts on “They Send Me the Angry Ones”

  1. The thing I love about the angry ones is the acceptance that brews over time from the rest of the class. I call it the Sesame Street effect. You don't shun Oscar because he's grouchy, or Snuffalufagus because he's pessimistic. They are part of your class and you love them because if they weren't there it would be a very different place.

  2. Thank you for your post and for the link back to the previous post in 2010. On Friday we said goodbye to one of our students because he was being transferred to another school with a more restrictive environment. There had just been too many violent attacks towards other students. On Thursday he was allowed to go to recess for the first and last time in over a month with my accompaniment. My heart fell to pieces as I shot a basketball with him. I can only hope that he gets the help and attention he needs. I love your perspective of who they were as a student before is not a reflection of who they are now. They are kids in need consistent hope and support.

  3. Hi! I'm Michelle, a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at South Alabama. Your blog is inspiring. Your perspective on teaching is one that I hope to one day establish in my own classroom. Students should not have pre-labeled habits. Any teacher can change a child’s life. I absolutely love that you reflection of a student is who they are in the present moment. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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