I went into work this morning at 7:15 and left at 9 at night. I am sitting on the couch without one ounce of energy. It was a rough day - students needing more from me than reading, writing, and arithmetic. I have a young lady in my room who is fresh out of college, and I look at her every day and wonder what in her schooling prepared her for the real world. Professors can talk about theory. Professional development can offer up even more strategies.
But no one can really answer why children are struggling. Academics are not always the challenge. It certainly wasn't today. People can often excuse behavior with a label. The longer I teach, the more aware I become that children, regardless of intelligence or socioeconomic status, have no idea how to treat one another. They can be so quick to point out the faults of others, but can offer up a multitude of excuses for their own behavior. I am standing in the hallway feeling sickened by their double standards and ask if anyone knows what grace is. None of them did. Grace, I tell them, is giving one another a break even when they don't think their classmate deserves one. I turned to one boy and I asked, "Do I give you a consequence every time you blurt out?" He sadly shook his head no. I turned to another one and asked "Do I refuse to repeat the directions for a fourth time because you didn't listen to the first three times?" He shook his head no. "That's what grace is. Choosing to give someone a break even when they are on your last nerve. Show each other some grace, please."
I foolishly thought when I was that young girl fresh from college that I would change the world. I know now that the world was too lofty a goal. I'm just trying to change one child at a time with a little grace.