How much confrontation should a teacher engage? Do we do the Queen Victoria thing, the “We are not amused” blank look? Or, do we get in there and mix it up a little, regressing to our former adolescent selves?
I know the mature answer is to pull a Queen Victoria, but when I have a student, a child, who is on their own emotional tailspin path spiraling toward destruction, in that moment, I go more Queen of Hearts than Victoria, and in that battle–no one wins.
And what are the spoils of war, the boons, that I am seeking? What do I want to get out of a confrontation? Do I secretly think the student will stop the tantrum, turn to me and say, “Gee, Mrs. L. You’re right! You are so wise, kind, and insightful–you have changed my life!” (Cue angelic halo…music swells, cheers from the other observing students, watching the melee, off shore through heavy lenses.)
There is not a teacher out there who has not had some form of confrontation with a student, no matter the age. I’ve heard that has students grow older, into high school, the confrontations decrease significantly. I’m sure there are many factors, including just a hefty dash of time and maturity. Maybe they don’t see teachers so much as an extension of their parents, as adversaries.
In any case, these tussles get me down, wear me down. I guess I’d better grow up.
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