An ounce of understanding


By Daris Howard
Special to The PREVIEW

I looked at my class roll and turned to Colleen. “Colleen, it’s your turn for the presentation today.”

She looked up, anger showing in her face. “I don’t want to do a stupid presentation! I don’t know why you expect something dumb like that anyway! You can take it and shove it, as far as I’m concerned!”

She continued her tirade at me for a few minutes while the other students stared. She said she hated me, the class, the university and everything. I could feel anger surge through me briefly, but it was quickly displaced by a memory of when, as a young professor in a similar situation, a colleague helped me realize that an ounce of understanding would negate pounds of regret from wishing I had done things differently.

I took a deep breath, but before I could speak, a student did. “Look, you!” she said to Colleen. “You have no right to speak that way!”

Colleen turned angrily to her, and I could see she planned to verbally assault her, so this time I interceded to diffuse the situation.

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