I happened to catch a DVD that someone else was watching, Cagney and Lacey. Hmmm....interesting show, but I wonder if it should be retitled Snippy and Snappy, (with apologies to C&L fans). Anyway, it got me to thinking how easily TV situations are resolved through angry words and actions, all by the keystrokes of the author's typewriter. It reminded me of Bonanza. In several episodes, a character's actions and demeanor were changed for the better through angry words, kind of a pop psychology therapy, I suppose. The same thing happens in literature. Right now, I'm half way through The Book Jumper; already, several twists in the plot have been moved along through anger. Anyway, next I began considering real life situations. I know when I write, I have the advantage of rewriting the plot until it fits my own plan for the story. Not so in real life. There does seem to be a time and a place for such dogmatic intervention, but in all cases, anger is a catalyst for more anger. Here's how it happens. A person's physical countenance is perceived by another person's brain by unconsciously slightly mimicking that person's expression. In other words, person #1 gets angry, and person #2 is already in the process of mimicking that anger. It's like lighting a match and setting it next to another match. Fwhoosh! Now two matches are burning. So why have I posted this in General Education? My mind traveled further as I considered daily classroom situations. Last I checked, we teach humans and we ourselves are humans. So we are all subject to anger. But we have an advantage. We are the teacher and we can intervene within a conflict situation. Rather than allowing ourselves to stir up or continue the anger, and this is not always easy, we can approach the situation calmly. Our reactive lower brain ignites our anger, but our pro-active upper brain creates solutions. Yeah, sometimes we can yell louder than a student and scare him/her into enforced behavior, but is that really resolving the student's attitude? As an alternative, we can wait until the student calms down, then listen and advise. That will teach the student to also develop her/his logical thinking through her/his upper brain. Anger is only one letter away from danger, but listen is only one letter away from glisten.