Another day in the life...
I cried in front of my kiddos Friday. Any teacher would tell you never to let your guard down. They would say that it shows weakness; shows that you cannot keep the control. I wasn't crying out of self pity....at least that's not how it all registered.
My kids are only 3rd graders and yet there is so much frustration already in their lives. They fight over menial words and misunderstood facial expressions. If their pride is challenged they are up in arms. They overreact to being misunderstood and yet do not seek to understand each other.
Friday, I was already tired. Tired of being observed all week long. Tired of my coaches and principal questioning whether or not I could do my job. So much so that I was beginning to question my own ability. Tired of feeling as if I will be the rookie for a long time and maybe never get this career under my belt. Wanting so much to make a difference and yet feeling that any difference I have been making has been more negative than positive. If only I was more experienced now. If only I actually knew how to organize and make learning exciting. If only I could draw the heart and talent out of these children.
And there they were all morning...arguing with one another...arguing with me. Using cutting words to make their point; using threatening remarks to manipulate their own position in the classroom. I was not enthused. I pulled C. aside...his reaction to getting in trouble is to retreat. He will not speak to me, will not look at me. And for two days he has been asking to go to another classroom. Ugh. When the girls left for CIS I pulled the boys aside for a reading activity. It didn't work...so I opened the floor for discussion...they could say anything they were feeling...as long as it wasn't cutting towards anyone in the group. Of course it was cutting though. But I had opened the floor so I let them say what needed to be said and I took notes to show them it was important.
When the girls came back in the room....it all went downhill. I could try to sit here and type out the logistics of relations but I won't. It got to the point where I couldn't even teach. I was so frustrated...and the kids were frustrated. So I pulled them together in the group area. And I began to tell them how I felt. I didn't even know what to say. I just kept praying, "God tell me what to do; intervene SOMEhow." I told them that I was frustrated. I told them how much I wanted to teach them. I told them that they didn't even know how special they were and that if they did then they wouldn't be treating each other the way that they do. And as I began to share my heart towards them I began to cry. I don't think they knew what to do. I think they started to feel the tears too by the looks on their faces. I could hear the words from other teachers, "never let them see you cry." But it had already started...and to really tell the truth...I think they needed to see it. I also apologized for not being patient with them. I told them that the Bible tells us that love is patient, and if we love each other then we should be patient with one another...etc, etc. I said a lot. I don't know how much it changed things. I really don't know.
All this to say, I don't know if I am good or not. What I do know is that I need God to intervene. After this past week of being in question at work, and going through what I've been through with the kids...the only thing that's going to show me that I'm doing a good job is the fruit of my work. It will not the be nice words and compliments by people who have not seen me teach. It will not be the overanalysis of peers or administration. It will be the actual lives of these kids played out...it will be the result of this year and the years following. Did they grow or not? Are they changed or not? Will they succeed or will they fail? How overwhelming. How humbling to know that their lives are so affected by my own. I know my shortcomings; I see my lacking work ethic. I see my ignorance and my lack of knowledge. I see the defaults of my heart. I don't know why God gave these 15 children to me. I don't know if I'm taking care of them as He would want me to. I could be doing so MUCH more...and yet I don't know how to do it. I can't even put my arms around it.