Saturday, April 10, 2010

Purposeful Anger...

flickr CC image via Ivan Walsh.com

"Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not easy." Aristotle

Much anger abounds in the world of teaching and learning these days. Emotions are running high and everyone claims to have the answer to our educational problems. All of the politicized rambling and sensationalism does nothing to advance education reform. Education reform needs rationale ideas, not emotionally driven diatribes. Aristotle's wisdom rings true after all these years... we often only need to look to the past to gain perspective about the future.

Be angry if you want with your chosen educational issue. Don't, however, get caught in the trap that many are wallowing in already- the trap of dysfunctional anger. Anger that is purposeful will sound like teachers, parents and students lobbying effectively for their cause in civil and professional ways... it will look like really excellent teachers demonstrating their cause by producing results within their classrooms... and it will feel like an ever-growing and evolving synergistic movement of people who are united in their rally to perpetually improve the teaching and learning process.
"There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot." Plato
I think Plato was just saying that action trumps anger, and perhaps more importantly, so does restraint.

Teachers- use your anger to change what you can control, influence what you can't and prove to detractors that your teaching will be successful despite the negative slant on issues surrounding you.

4 comments:

  1. I like the advice Sean. Thanks for sharing; I was asked once in a staff training session what my greatest value was. Predictably,most of my colleagues said things like 'family' or 'faith'. They were good answers and good examples of why prioritized lists are not the most effective. I responded with the word 'control'. Too many things outside of us can unbalance. At that moment in time it seemed to me that my response to stress and conflict was most important. I think the word restraint will become synonymous with control. My colleagues likely interpreted my desire for control to be a manifestation of controlling others. I was only offered the option of a single word, otherwise I might have had the presence of mind to say 'self-control'.

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  2. Thanks Alan.
    Big difference between "being in control" and "being controlling," I think. I'm a follower of various forms of Eastern philosophy, and as you know, balance, control and restraint are very purposeful states of mind within these forms. As I was reading your comment, it also struck me that there's also a significant degree of "high-road" thinking suggested in my post, and sometimes to avoid the low road, we have to remain quiet, at least for a while until composure and clarity returns, yes?

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  3. Sean, yes. And, Alan, I love how you left "self" off of "control," because "self" is the only thing we *can* control!

    Love the post, love the comments! I'll be tuning in for more.

    @xybrewer

    ReplyDelete
  4. "self" is the only thing we *can* control!

    Here, here... I wish more people would realize this. One of those sooo simple prinicples that sooo many do not understand.

    Thanks for reading!

    ReplyDelete

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