Feedback Loop

Dear Terrence,

It’s easier said than done. I talk to you guys all the time about buttons and triggers, about showing the world what gets you going and thus providing everyone with all the ammunition they need to fire upon you, about the importance of keeping cool and responding instead of reacting, and then I go and do the very thing I’m preaching against.

As a teacher, I have fairly obvious buttons. I usually keep my cool when you or someone else — or everyone else — is pressing them, but today, I lost it. And as a result, I yelled at you.

And you yelled back.

And so I yelled again, louder.

And you yelled back again, louder.

And then another teacher had the presence of mind to invite you into her room to cool off, and I was left standing in the hall, feeling like an utter jackass. And knowing exactly had happened and exactly what I had to do.

I don’t like apologizing to students. It’s not that I mind the actual apologizing — that’s actually somewhat of a relief. No, what irritates me is that I’ve done something that I must apologize for. I’ve sunk to levels that I constantly tell myself I will never descend to, no matter what buttons you lovely little cretins press (and “lovely little cretins” was an intentional oxymoron, believe me). What made it a pleasant experience was your apology. There we were, teacher and student, adult and adolescent, acting briefly like two adult colleagues.

We should try that more often.

Still tinged with regret,
Your silly teacher.

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