Anger Issues

Emotions will either serve or master, depending on who is in charge.  –Jim Rohn

Anger is an issue I see as one of the biggest problems facing the students. Just last year I saw 3 different students who had overcome so many difficulties and challenges in their life start to really do well in school and get excited about learning, only to lose control of their tempers and get expelled for fighting. When you stop to consider how many of the hundreds of referrals processed every year come from students who let anger take control of their thinking, it becomes obvious that anger is an underlying cause of a lot of the behavior problems students have.

A lot of the anger is misdirected – so many students have  issues and problems they can’t control or fix because they come out of a severely dysfunctional home or world – and they have nowhere else they are safe enough to let out that anger than at school.   It is an irony – we provide a safe place for them and so they feel secure enough to lose control knowing that no real harm will come to them when they do so.   I doubt many of our students even recognize it – but it is a strange truth.   Schools, by their very nature, create an environment where some of our students end up saying or doing terrible things because all the hurt, pain, frustration and rage they can’t express anywhere else safely can finally explode out of them at school.  This is because, on some level at least, they know that the teacher’s care about them, that no one is going to emotionally or physically abuse them for feeling this way, and because most of the consequences they will face are consequences they are comfortable with.

Kids carrying around deep emotional wounds and terrible, bottled-up anger are looking, consciously or unconsciously, for adults and environments they can trust enough to release some of those pent-up energies.   They have to know that when this happens, their life won’t be in danger, or that they won’t be subjected to the kind of emotional or physical abuse they would get at home, but at the same time, they want to know that the school won’t let them get away with it.  They want the security of a structure that says “you can’t act like that here” because then they know the school cares enough about them to make them act right and also that the school won’t let anybody else act like that to them.   It is a safe place.

So yeah, students with anger issues are really, really complicated and conflicted.

The role of the school in this situation needs to be more proactive than reactive.   We can’t tolerate dangerous or disruptive behaviors, to be sure, but can we teach students how to deal with anger in a manner that is healthy and addresses their issues?   Can we create not only an environment where kids feel safe to be angry, but also safe enough to learn how to use anger to help them instead of hurt them?

Below are website links about anger and anger management.



Making Personal Connections Between Teachers and Students

Consistently, we see research that shows many learners need to have some kind of personal connection to a teacher in order to truly learn – particularly minorities and boys (and even more particularly, minority boys).

I know that was one of my struggles as a student.  If I had a teacher that I thought cared about me (even if I did not especially like them) or found something about me worthwhile, I was a much better student.  If I was so lucky as to have a teacher that I really connected with, I would strive for greatness.  My favorite teacher threw erasers at my head and praised my writing, and I would have crucified myself for his high opinion.  Likewise, if I had a teacher that pretty clearly did not care about me, I didn’t care much to learn.   If the teacher outright disliked me or embarrassed me, I would rather have an F than give them anything.   It wasn’t a very successful, mature or bright plan, and it punished me not them, but there you have it.

Here are some various websites that look at the research for establishing those personal connections and/or offer ideas on how to create those connections:’_Self-Esteem.aspx



This blog is a place for teachers and learners (is there a difference?) to find resources for their education and educating.    I used to run two separate sites for my high school, one for students and one for teachers.   I am going to try to blend them into one site and continue from there.

What makes this page different from the thousands of other pages for teachers and students out there?

I try to connect my reader with resources that are more “big picture” ideas, to ideas about teaching the whole person, about who we are as learners, about the many different parts of who we are that influence the way we educate and are educated.

Hopefully, you will find something within these pages that you enjoy and benefit from.