Dan really did not want to be at school—that much was very evident when he first walked into the Head’s office. Sullen and aggressive, his first words to the Headmaster were: That tie you are wearing does not match your shirt!’
Now most people will probably see this as somewhat rude. The Head certainly did. But for Dan it was his first thought and ‘boom!’ it was said without any concern for how it might sound or how it might be received. Fortunately, the Head was not a vain man. In fact he mentally noted that the boy had a point, as today there was indeed a marked lack of co-ordination between shirt and tie that was unusual even for him. As the meeting progressed, however, it became evident that Dan’s comment was not an isolated social blunder, but rather an example of what emerged as part of a pattern of defiance.
‘So why do you think you have problems at school?’ asked the Head, somewhat carefully, trying not to be distracted by the fact that Dan was leaning back on his chair at a dangerous angle, and studying the ceiling whilst tugging on the cord hanging down by the window blind.
‘I don’t have problems, it’s them that have the problems!’ Dan snapped back in reply, eyes still on the ceiling.
‘OK,’ thought the Head. ‘So this is not a great start.’
The tour of the school was not much better as feet were dragged, posters on the wall were pulled, and Dan’s communication with his accompanying parents was at best fractious. However, Dan and the school did accept each other, and after two years the Head and staff at the school felt that they had got a handle on the way in which Dan works and thinks. Several incidents seem to stand out which illustrate important things about Dan, and students like him.
One day Dan was asked to leave class for talking too much. When a senior teacher went to talk to him about the incident, Dan became extremely agitated, aggressive