I always remember the first student who threw a tantrum at me. I am a rather non-confrontational, peace-loving person so I really didn’t quite know what to do when a 13 year old boy threw a tantrum at me outside of the classroom at the end of the lesson. I can’t remember exactly what he said. I remember he was very angry and agitated. He looked at me in an accusing way and said that I was “unfair” and I was “picking on him”. I didn’t know what to do. I just looked at him as kindly as I could and stayed quiet. When he was done with what he wanted to say in less than 30 seconds, he walked away and I walked back to the staff room, wondering whether I could have done it any differently.
After school, I went to look for him and said that I needed to have a word with him. He was a lot calmer at this point. I told him that I thought about it and I might have unintentionally “picked on him” during that lesson and for that, I apologized for my actions. I did that because I thought that he has a lot of potential to do well and I did not want to see him squandering the opportunity to learn. I told him that I hoped that he understood my intentions. I also told him that he also owed me an apology for his actions earlier. And he apologized and we were good again.
Things happen very quickly in life and the way you react just reflects on the person you are. Another teacher may have played the teacher card and said, “I am your teacher. You need to mind your manners.” Or another teacher may have played the reward/ penalty card and said, “Enough. You are going to detention this afternoon.” Personally, I strive to be a teacher who is a good role model for the students and I want to show them how to deal with and resolve conflicts in a peaceful way. I want to treat my students as young adults who are capable of regulating their own behaviour and I hope that they can become responsible, civic-minded and principled adults.