Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘compassion for students’

“What’s Love Got to do with It?” Ask Your Students!

     Once upon a time there was a little 2nd grade boy. He was new to a school, and he brought with him, all his problems and issues.  Sent to live with dad after mom “couldn’t take it any more”, a pre-primer reading level, an evil stepmother, and siblings who did not like him, he didn’t stand a chance.

After a couple of weeks, it became apparent that this child was a “problem”. Inappropriate language, bullying, no work, etc…His teacher (not me) knew this, but she also realized that he came from a place of trouble. So, instead of scolding him constantly, she decided to love him. Instead of throwing up her hands in despair, she found ways to get him the help he needed. And most of all, she loved him, and he knew it. He was disciplined, and he had consequences, but, she loved him nonetheless.

While she struggled to help him, “they” began to plan how they would get him out of their school. They had his teacher attend meetings, and asked her about his aggressive nature. She refused to go along with their program, and forced them to help him, instead of making him “someone else’s problem.” And he changed. Little by little, he changed. By the end of the year, he wasn’t a brand new child, but he wasn’t the child that had entered that school. And as difficult as it was,  his teacher made a decision to retain him because he wasn’t ready.

Fast forward. His dad is in jail for a while, so he has no buffer between himself, stepmom, and siblings. But  saddest of all, he has no place to be loved. His new teacher sees him as a problem. She recounts stories of how she disciplines his every little transgression to his former teacher with relish. Where is her humanity? She resents the fact that every morning, yes, every morning, he visits his former teacher. Where else can he get love? Where else can he  have someone listen to his stories of a  life that would be difficult for most adults? Unfortunately, I have no idea how this story ends, maybe his former teacher is enough to buffer the negativity in his life, and allow him to change for the better, maybe not.

I think of those two words Angela Maiers promotes, “You Matter.”  I am blessed, I know I matter. I have many people in my lives who let me know that. Others are not so fortunate, especially our students.  We have to remember that we may be the only good thing that happens to them all day. We have to care. Sometimes we have to overlook their negatives and try to find a positive.  We have to let them know they matter.

Why I Teach!

There is always a moment when something happens in the classroom that makes you realize why you teach! Sometimes, after dealing with parents, administration, parents, people who want to take away collective bargaining, you get fed up, and you forget.  But every once in a while, it happens.  That moment when you choke up, and say, “This is why.”  Now, what happens may be a small thing to others, they don’t understand your experience.

In a previous post, “They Did Not Choose Their Parents“, I talked about a student who was out every Monday, and I would fuss at him. After attending the 2011 PLC Summit, I made adjustments, and yes, he was out again another Monday. I did not fuss, as a matter of fact, I gave him time to catch up, and was very patient.

The other day, in honor of Women’s History Month, my kids posted on their blogs, “A Woman I Admire.”  “R” came to me and said, “Mrs.M, is it okay if I write about you?”

I smiled and said, “Sure” You know I was feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

This is what he wrote:  A woman I admire is my teacher Mrs.M. The reason I admire Mrs.M is that she is a wonderful teacher and she never gives up on us. Another reason I  admire  her is that she knows that you can do well and she inspires you to do well in school. So that’s some reasons I admire Mrs.M.

I wrote:  Thank you R.  I am so proud of the way you have turned yourself around! You are a bright, wonderful, young man, keep up the good work!

He responded:  Thank you Mrs.M  for saying that about me your a (sic) really great teach.

Need I say more?  That is why I teach!

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