Thomas La Grua's Journey to Awakening

January 18, 2011

Seeing anger, and Stopping

Filed under: Writing out the Mind: 2010-July 2, 2012 — Thomas La Grua @ 10:21 am

Communicating with Apple, my wife
Two days ago, I was talking to my wife. I forget what the subject was about, but she said something, and suddenly I started to feel anger growing somewhere in my stomach area, and I had this picture (in the mind, I guess) of this little gray hardened mass of something that was on the verge of growing. Then, in that moment that I was about change/raise my tone of voice for a second time – I had already begun raising it – I stopped, returned to a normal tone, and the little gray mass disappeared. It was cool because, although I have managed to stop myself and be here in breath before; this was the first time that I had a picture associated with such an event.

Teaching students
Yesterday, while I was teaching English to children, maybe second and or third graders, I participated within an event in which I stopped myself, but not as quickly as I could have and should have. Two of the five students in the class were just having their own conversation, playing with and throwing things, and basically, wanted nothing to do with what I was trying to do – teach English. If it hadn’t been for the two students that obviously were interested, I would have done my usual – sat down, put my feed on the desk and told them to thank their mamas and papas for paying me to do nothing. I don’t allow myself anymore to get angry like I have in the past, but that’s another story. So, I told these two that they could get some comic books and read quietly in the back of the classroom, but they wouldn’t do that either. Then at some point I did start to get angry, and I grabbed the back of both of their jackets in order to put them out in the hallway. However, one of them was too quick, and he escaped; and the other, I realized was not going anywhere – unless I was willing to physically pick him up and put him out. That’s when I stopped and realized that I was participating in reaction/anger. So, I sat down, put my feet on the desk, and considered the situation. Interestingly, the two “active” kids are the two in that class that I relate to most in terms of my memory of when I was very young, and how I would feel now if I were in their shoes. These kids – most of them – as soon as they enter first grade, have to be in school by 8:30. Then, at 1:30 (for first graders) and 3:30 or 4:30 for the rest, they get out of school, only to have to go to a cram school or day-care center where they’re forced to do their homework and study, study, study. It is a life (or a prevention of life) that I (having been involved in the system in one way or another for nearly twenty years) would wish upon no one. So, for the rest of the class time, we played a simple learning game, and those two kids participated. By stopping myself, and not allowing my anger to grow, I was able look at the situation from a different perspective. What I saw was two children expressing themselves (having fun) the way they wanted, and perhaps standing up for their right to express themselves in perhaps one of the few places that they could do so and not be punished. As a teacher, I realize (but sometimes forget) that learning can and should be fun. Overall, the experience yesterday with the children was beneficial to me from the standpoint of me being here, paying attention while the event was happening, and recognizing and stopping myself (a bit later than I would have preferred) before I let anger/reaction overcome me. A funny part to the story (that happened earlier in the class) is that as I grabbed a coin that one of the boys was playing with, he grabbed my hand and put his mouth around it. He had control in biting mode. I said, “OK, OK, I don’t want the coin, you can have it” and I released it. He released my hand, and I didn’t try to take the coin away again. From a perspective of teaching children – inputting English into them – it’s easier for me to teach lessons to the children that have accepted the system. However, it’s the students that disrupt class and refuse to be controlled, that I most enjoy teaching. I think it’s because they remind me of me when I was young and refused to be controlled.

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