Anger Management For the ‘Bad Kids’ in Schools – Yet Another Cop Out by Adults!

In a rather disturbing article in today’s paper a teacher wrote at length, giving a detailed account of daily abuse, aggression, violence and contempt faced by herself and other teachers by senior aged pupils. She wrote of the feelings of helplessness to stem the tide of appalling behaviour from children. She wrote of the total lack of respect shown by children to adults, the lack of pupils’ self control and how they expect the world to instantly conform to their wishes – not a thought for anyone else’s feelings.

Schools referred to in the article are deemed good or satisfactory by Ofsted but that’s patently nonsensical! These aren’t inner city schools where appalling behaviour is considered normal these days. Such behaviour isn’t normal and it’s dangerous to ever consider that it is. These schools are passed as fit for purpose, but they aren’t. The standard of behaviour is dreadful. The pupils are driving teachers to despair and in an extreme case recently, a teacher had been driven to an extreme act of violence against a pupil.

Head teachers don’t seem to be sufficiently aware of the misery being suffered by teachers due to pupils’ appalling behaviour. But they should be aware and should be taking steps to address the problems.

The newspaper article referred to earlier refers to insufficient support for teachers from management in the schools and the government. Children who have been violent have been allowed back in class to cause further disruption. There are insufficient consequences for appallingly behaved pupils. Teachers who complain to management about bad behaviour are ignored. Teachers are told to just curb the behaviour as best they can. It can’t be considered acceptable that people’s working lives are being blighted so badly.

Fear not though, the answer has arrived! Anger Management Classes… very expensive and so they must be good… A colossal amount of money has been invested in counsellors and others to run these anger management classes!

But there’s a problem! Allegedly being included in these classes leads to problem pupils being excused their appalling behaviour as they have anger management issues. Of course they have!

So, what’s the kids’ reaction to these anger management classes? Well, they’re generally considered a great way to get out of regular classes and to be a bit of an easy option. Kudos is gained from their peers for being considered suitable for inclusion in the classes.

So, are anger management classes: A) of any use or B) largely a waste of time and money?

Guess what? B wins hands down…

Be of no doubt — anger management classes are a cop out. Only adults who either don’t want to or can’t manage kids’ behaviour think they’re of any use. They are a substitute for adults who haven’t got the courage to let it be known that certain behaviour isn’t acceptable and won’t be tolerated.

School management personnel should get their act together, get out of their comfortable offices and get themselves to those areas of their schools where the problems are. Get out there and assert their authority. These people should be in and out of classes, offering teachers support, know what’s going on and show an interest in the pupils’ work and progress. Building relationships with pupils and teachers should be paramount along with setting high standards and expectations of work and behaviour.

Behaviour (or anger management) isn’t taught in isolation because behaviour happens all the time. Behaviour therefore has to be managed all the time. Behaviour management isn’t just about dealing with the unacceptable. Adult acknowledgment of acceptable behaviour and good manners is an important aspect of managing behaviour as it reinforces your expectations. It also isn’t a subject such as maths or science that is taught according to a timetable. Behaviour has to be dealt with when it happens, not just at 11.30 on Friday mornings.

To deal with behaviour problems successfully and effectively, you need guts and energy. You have to command respect, assert your authority and be consistent in your expectations. Unfortunately, not enough adults in schools do this. Not many adults out of schools do it either! Too many adults have become too soft, bland and liberal.

Managing behaviour isn’t about being nasty or unreasonable — it’s about showing children that you won’t put up with unacceptable behaviour and letting them know that their life will get uncomfortable if they decide to cross the boundaries of acceptable behaviour…

Until this takes place, teachers like the author of the article referred to will continue to feel isolated, stressed and unsupported during their working day in schools.

Is change possible? Of course it is. Adults have to learn to assert themselves and stop tolerating being treated like something unpleasant the kids have trodden in! It’s not difficult to make the necessary changes. In fact anyone can do it and by doing so will improve standards in schools and reduce personal stress. A win/win situation…