Sunday, April 15, 2012

Unexpected Self-Motivation

While clicking through some Entrecards as I waited to drive a relative to church, I happened across a delightful blog called Life, Day by Day.  One particular post, "On Aloof Girl," got my attention.

I felt for the auntie in her frustration and pain.  So, instead of just knowing what I felt, I commented:

"Don't give up on her.  In all truth, her behavior is not that uncommon for a girl her age.  I know it's much easier said than done, but give her more time and hang in there with her.

I understand your frustration.  I work at a school with kids ranging in age from 11 to 17.  Really, they're only supposed to go up to 14 years at the oldest.  But many have been retained in their grades because of failure.  I teach reading, particularly to those kids who've had the most trouble with it.  By the time they get to me, kids who have had a great deal of trouble with reading tend to hate it.  They hate reading.  They hate the class.  Quite often, they hate me.

Now, I'm one of those teachers who is extremely warm.   I know that most of my kids have been trained to expect teachers to look for the worst in them.  So, I do the opposite. I smile at them a great deal.  I give them sarcasm when they say things that they think will upset me.  I hit them back with love for their harshness.   Not only this, but I go out of my way for their studies even in other academic areas.  I have printed out assignments for other classes for kids who don't have a printer at home.  I have even taken handwritten work and typed it into a word processor file for students who had trouble getting their work typed.  I have spent thousands of dollars on these children to purchase everything from books, to school supplies, to food.  But despite all of my kindness, they are still quite harsh to me at times.  This is my very first year teaching, and already I have been hit (more than once), I have been tickled, pinched, and cursed at by these students for whom I have given just about everything but my very blood.

I have given up more times than I can even recall.  But every time I give up on them, every time I say to myself, "this child is simply a lost cause," I remember the fact that they may very well be a lost cause if someone doesn't influence their lives.  So, I keep going.

I NEVER wanted to teach this age.  Before I even finished obtaining my degree, I knew that if there was one group I did NOT want, it was middle school.  God had other plans for me.

Looking back, I have grown more in the areas of patience, perseverance, and love than I knew I could.  This has been the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life.  But I am thankful for the opportunity.

What worked for me is this: detach yourself from the event of misbehavior at hand.  When she acts out, look at her as if you're watching a movie.  Try to remove your emotions and view her as a biological specimen or something like that.  Simultaneously, remember that, in a few years, she will realize the good in what you did for her; and if she has a great deal of sense, she will realize what she put your through.  The amount of gratitude she will have for your sacrifice will far exceed its present misery.

I don't want to fill up your entire comment block!  Sorry! :0)  But I just wanted to encourage you not to give up on the little brat.  She'll pull around after a while.  You seem like such a kind person.  Even offering to help your brother out says a GREAT deal about your fantastic character.  Here's your chance to continue refining your already great self.  It's going to be hard.  But the rewards will be worth it."

I didn't realize it at the time, but what I did was encourage myself.

I have heard of this before. David did it when nobody believed in him.  Unlike myself, who only have standardized test scores to be accountable for, he had the lives and livelihood of hundreds of families. Imagine the stress level there!  Rather than give up, however, he renewed his faith reliance on God, the only One who could actually help him in his loneliest time of need. I didn't even realize that I was doing generating some self-therapy until I was finished.  The very same words that I need to hear when I have to bite my tongue rather than react to something a kid has done, is what I wrote.  I believe it may come in handy in the days to come.

1 comment:

merlmd said...

Came over to visit your blog and saw your post. Awwww, I am touched that you found my blog delightful. That adds more meaning to what I write. I will copy my reply to your comment here "thank you so much for sharing your experience and really good practical advice. It was my birthday last Saturday and at the stroke of midnite she sent me a greeting thru text and was besides herself with glee that she got to greet me first before anyone else. Then when morning comes she is nowhere in sight and her brother called her to come over (we live next door) for dinner since it was my birthday...she sullenly comes, mumbles good evening and happy birthday in the same breath (no hug, no kiss) and asks, are we eating now? hahahahahah. Yes, hopefully things will get better when she gets older". I will put your blog on my reading list :)

Maritel (merlmd)