Passive Aggressive Behavior in Schools: One Teacher's Learning Experience
I just received this great bit of feedback from a teacher in Alaska who recently completed the one-day training on The Angry Smile. The feedback I’d like to return to her: don’t beat yourself up about the “could’ve, should’ve, and would’ve.” We all make mistakes with the kids we are trying to help and we all wish we could do even more for them. It’s an incredibly difficult profession!
Learning new strategies and applying them is something to feel proud of and excited about. So, no more “Shame on me’s!” Feel good about all of your hard work–it’s tiring and often thankless, but the rewards in lives-changed and hearts-touched are endless.
For years I’ve referred to many of the behaviors on the
“Recognizing the Warning Signs” page as self-destructive. I suppose they are, but I had never viewed
them from the viewpoint of how they might be symptoms of passive-aggressive
patterns. Often knowing why a student is
acting a particular way is the one piece of information we lack, yet it’s the
most crucial one. Now I understand that
Elijah turned in poor quality work with appalling penmanship as a strategy to
deal with his anger. I can even begin to
formulate a theory as to what his anger might be about, but alas this student
has moved on from my class. I think I
will forever remember him as the student I was able to help too late. For future students, however, the Angry Smile
class has provided me with a great introduction to what I would like to learn
about passive-aggressive behavior.
I wish I could go back and say to this student, “I’m
thinking you must find this work to be a waste of your time. I think we should forget about this
assignment and work together to find some tasks that you will feel good about
doing.” Or, “I see that you might have
completed your work, but once again I am not able to clearly read your
handwriting. I really wish I could
accurately read your story, because I know you have a vivid imagination. I sometimes feel like I might be missing the
most important parts.” Did I ever tell
him in a positive way that his handwriting stunk? Never, not once in three years. Shame on me!
This is another class that I would love to explore in
greater depth. I can see myself in the fall better equipped to recognize those warning signs
and patterns, and I think that is a good first step.