A practical manual that helps teachers manage their students’ anger—and their own.
According to debut author Nystrup, it’s hard to overestimate the potential influence teachers wield over their students—instructors incapable of controlling their own anger may pass that infirmity to pupils who do the same. The good news, the author says, is that teachers can control their ire as well as that which emerges within a classroom. First, a teacher needs to rein in his or her own temper, a process that involves meticulous introspection. To that end, Nystrup provides an Anger Manifestation Chart, a tool that tracks the various ways anger rises from, say, anxiety or a negative thought. Once one looks inward and explores the sources of unrest, a “realm of deeper freedoms” can be experienced and imparted to a classroom that, while emotionally moderated, avoids devolving into “drab, torturous monotony.” The author provides an abundance of practical counsel, using case histories to illustrate his principal points. He astutely acknowledges that “teaching is not an exact science” and so articulates broadly conceived advice that can be customized. At the heart of Nystrup’s approach is the achievement of mindfulness, a sense of self-awareness that fosters mental and emotional equanimity. He covers an impressive span of pedagogical territory, including special education classrooms, and incorporates a wide array of approaches, like yoga. His prose can be both vague and exuberantly optimistic. His goal is to “facilitate teacher growth, including the ability to move through each teaching day with clear thinking, unclouded emotions, and a physical state of strength and endurance.” Of course, no book or didactic strategy will deliver all that all the time, but Nystrup does thoughtfully examine the way in which a teacher can maintain a lively classroom that is also a peaceful “setting of trust.”
An intelligent, meditative, and effective guide to creating a productive classroom atmosphere.