learning lessons

October 15, 2010

Some days teaching breaks my heart.  This morning I overreacted to the misbehaving youngster in my class.  It wasn’t quite so much the way I responded that was an overreaction, mind you: it was more so the nature of this particular youngster, that I should know by now: he is a sensitive one, eager to please and quick to respond to discipline.  So much so that I have not had to really discipline him, for all practical purposes. As a result, when he was rather obviously disobedient this morning, I reacted without thinking, as harshly as I would have done with my more hard-headed students.  He left our current group work, as I had instructed, and went to sit by himself in the corner.  After a few minutes I asked if he was ready to join us again and, when he did not answer, I went over to him.  Then I knew why he had been silent.  He was crying, noticeably so, and was trying to conceal his tears from his classmates.

That was when I started to fight my own tears.  For I knew that I had been too hard on him, in my hasty response.  For this particular student, a simple, stern word would have been sufficient for him to correct his behavior.

The rest of the day went more smoothly.  I found a way to apologize in a way that hopefully was discreet enough to make it easy for him to rejoin the group—which he did.  But it took a long time for me to get over my own shame over shaming him.  I only hope that he is as resilient as he seems to be, and that he will somehow understand my realization of my own error.  I guess that is what grace is all about: Lord help us if not!

This photo, while not in the classroom, is one I took of those students when we were in the middle of a cricket-playing P.E. class this week.


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