Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up.

Because I've been thrown into this position here at this middle school without any proper training on classroom management or any sort of "professional" things that teachers go through in order to understand how to handle delicate situations of behavior and how to react, I have to deal with situations as they present themselves. Let me explain.

My daily routine is pretty much the same day in and day out. When I arrive at school, I go to the cafeteria to help my friend Becky monitor the kids as they eat their breakfast and when the bell rings at 850, I go to my office, unlock the door, turn on the computer and get prepared for the day's tasks. This morning, however, when I arrived at the classroom where my office is located, things did not go as usual. I had been held up talking with one of the counselors so I didn't get to the classroom until after the bell had rang. Upon opening the door to the classroom, all hell had already broken loose. The classroom where my office is located is being manned by a substitute teacher and has been for the past 7 weeks, the kids have become somewhat restless with having substitute teachers and also because it is the week before spring break, they don't really have any interest at all in being in school. Well, when I opened the door to the class, one student was crying and shouting hysterically because another student was horseplaying and hit him in the face. Rough-housing is not allowed in this classroom because it is a technology room and there are computers surrounding the circumference of the room and, should one of these computers get broken, there is no one to replace the damaged computer. Anyway, I tried my best to calm the student who was crying but after a short time he grew belligerent, at which point I asked him to step outside the class, he refused. I know this particular boy has some issues at home and I try to be tender but when a student is blatantly disrespecting me, as an adult, I won't tolerate that. I escorted him out of the classroom, all the while he was protesting and saying he didn't want to get in trouble, I attempted to reassure him that he needed to calm down etc..anyway, long story short, his belligerence became inexcusable and I called an administrator. The 2 students who had done the fighting were then placed in ISS and I felt guilty for letting that happen. My heart is heavy for the fact that I know this particular student has issues and I knew he had done nothing wrong except getting hit in the face but when he became rude and disrespectful, I felt the need to nip it in the bud and he was punished for that. Anyway, I was sitting here thinking about it just now, and the little boy came and apologized for being rude. My heart still feels heavy for the pain that he is going through and I reassured him that I understand he did nothing wrong except be disrespectful to me and I hugged him and told him to come talk to me if anything is bothering him...I suppose, like the old adage goes, when you ask God for patience, He gives you situations where you'll need patience...I think the same goes with anything we ask Him for. We studied in our Lifegroup last night about kindness and that was one that was laid heavy on my heart, because I want to be genuinely kind. I don't want to just be nice but I want to have opportunities to show kindness to others, even if that's not towards someone who's my age but someone who I can mentor and show that there is somebody out there who cares. Yes, my heart was heavy, because I felt like this little boy was punished unjustly but at the same time, he was being punished for the way he disrespected me as an authority figure...but then when he came back in to apologize, my heart was flooded with kindness and I wanted him to know that I was here for him and I was able to speak to him out of LOVE rather than out of anger because he had been rude to me. Its times like that where God's love in me had a chance to shine through externally. I don't know the details on what this little boy's situation is at home. I don't know what sort of beliefs he's been brought up with or whether or not he knows that Jesus loves him. But what I do know is that I was able to give him a glimmer of kindness today when everyone else was coming down on him so hard. I want to be HIS hands and I want to be HIS feet...I want the Lord to shine through me and I want this little boy to know that, hey maybe there is something different in Ms Kramer that other teachers don't have...And he now knows that when other teachers might instantly react in anger and come down on him really hard, he can come to me and vent (in a respectful and decent manner, of course)...This is slight repetition. I apologize.

I worry, however, that because I have taken this one little boy's problems and how I've reacted to his situation with an aching heart to want to help him, that I won't be able to be an effective teacher. I can't fix each and every one of my future student's problems, and I know that. But will I be able to go home every day carrying a heart that is weighed down and heavy with the hard and terrible things that my students are going through? Or will I be able to be an effective teacher, showing love and understanding AS WELL AS being able to command respect and control over my classroom?

I hope so.

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