Archive | 1:11 am

How Do You Do?

13 Mar

That’s How I do!

This is a phrase that I would often hear from students during my 33 years in the public schools.

Usually it would come in response to a question that I would have about their work or social habits in school or in the classroom.

I might ask, “Why don’t you ever come to class on time?”

“That’s how I do.”

Or, “Your homework is always late or missing. Is there a reason why you can’t complete your assignments”

“That’s how I do.”

“Why must you always make insulting comments to other students in the class?”

“That’s how I do.”

“Why did you hit that student when he accidentally bumped into you in the hallway?”

“That’s how I do.”

“Is there a reason why you find the misfortune’s of others so amusing?”

“That, Mr Picone, is how I do.”

It was always quite a frustrating response to hear especially since it was almost always delivered in a trite and unapologetic tone and also because it offered no explanation or even excuse as to the student’s aberrant or incorrect behavior and it made any and all attempts to offer or suggest corrections very difficult.

But eventually after many years of contemplation and of hearing this phrase over and over again (and of growing older and wiser I like to think) it dawned on me. These students had at least been giving me the best and most honest explanation that they had for their behavior. They didn’t know why they did what they did or why they had formed the habits that were defining their life, but they were however, aware of the fact that they responded to similar situations in predictable ways.

They were aware of their predictable behaviors and their predictable responses. They didn’t know why they did… they just knew that they did… what they did… and so…”That’s how I do.”

These students were what is commonly referred to as “dysfunctional” because their behaviors did not coincide with what were commonly seen as positive societal or educational  behaviors…They didn’t do what they didn’t like to do. They hit back when angry. They made offhand and insulting remarks that they thought were funny. They found no urgency in being on time. And they hated or became angry and frustrated when others did these same things to them.

We all function on auto pilot from time to time. I think that those whom we classify as “dysfunctional” fly on an auto pilot that likes to crash into things more often then it likes to avoid trouble…and I also believe that it is a learned behavior that is instilled in them at a very early age.

 Most of the dysfunctional students or people that I have met always seem to live by one rule: Always play by MY rules which at no time and under no circumstances will apply to myself.

All  of us function in certain ways, or have things that we do, or responses that we make, or habits that we can’t seem to break, without always knowing why. More often than not it takes someone close to us to point out these behaviors because we just don’t  notice these rote behaviors ourselves. Have you ever noticed this or been told this about yourself? Why do you think what you think and more importantly…

How do you do?



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