An Angry Lesson Plan

“STOP! I’ll punch you!” Sulekha Nayak heard these words as she entered the classroom but this was not the first time that she was hearing these threats. Her current batch of students were notorious for flying into a rage and becoming aggressive at the slightest pretext. Sulekha fortunately was not a faint hearted teacher. She always took the bull by its horns and came up with creative ideas to solve problems and today was no different.

Sulekha began the class with a relaxing Zen song called ‘Breathing In, Breathing Out’. The students automatically inhaled and exhaled deeply while singing the song and this process calmed them down considerably. Once the students were sufficiently calm, Sulekha began recounting an interesting story about a boy who lost his temper and ended up in juvenile home because he tried killing his friend. Sulekha even got a newspaper cutting to prove it.

The students were appalled! The boy in question was exactly their age. “I wish he would have controlled his horrible temper!” one of the students remarked while another one quipped, “How can someone dream of killing his own friend?” A discussion soon ensued on why teenagers lose their tempers and do terrible things and Sulekha quickly noted the following comments made by her students:

    “I hate being told what to do especially by my parents so I talk back.”

    “I’m scared of losing my independence and I get mad often.”

    “I’m frustrated at school and even at home because no one understands me and I feel angry most of the time.”

    “I’m jealous of my younger sister because she is praised more often than and I’m seething inside.”

    “I can’t help it; anger overwhelms me!”

The following day, Sulekha distributed a worksheet to the students where a volcano diagram represented different emotions that led to anger. Students had to choose sentences that made them lose their cool but also think about ways (tools) on how to control their tempers.

Once the students completed the above exercise, Sulekha showed the students another document where certain terms described emotions which usually led to an angry outburst.

Each student had to choose words that made him/her fly into a rage. Sulekha was thrilled to discover potential anger triggers and also underlying issues plaguing her students. The exercise equipped her at handling teenagers better with more tact and compassion.

A week later, Sulekha, much to the surprise of her students brought a bucket of water and placed it at the centre of the classroom. She then gave a sheet of paper to each student and told them to write down situations that really made them angry such as: ‘I get livid when my younger brother snatches my mobile phone so I punch him hard on his nose.’

Once the children finished describing their angry situations, Sulekha told them to crumple their paper sheets and throw it into the bucket. The children were thrilled! It was like a game! They took aim and threw their crumpled ball of a paper into the bucket and watched it become soggy and disintegrate.

“This is what you should do when you feel angry,” Sulekha chuckled. “Write down your angry thoughts on a piece of paper and then throw it into a bucket of water or the waste paper bin before you end up doing something stupid. You could even go play a game, get out of the house and even pursue a hobby. These things help, you know!”

They certainly did! The children gradually learned to handle their own anger responsibly and did I tell you? Sulekha now conducts her classes in peace with occasional eruptions, of course but those she handles like a true volcanologist with remarkable poise and expertise!

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