I had the weirdest teacher epiphany today.
While I was marking a math test, I came across a hilarious answer by a student that made me laugh to myself. I thought: “Oh man that kid is hilarious. I really like that boy.“ Suddenly followed by: “Wait, when did that happen?“
A year ago, he was driving me nuts. NUTS. I had tried it all, from being nice and understanding to being strict as hell. Nothing was hitting home. I was at my wits’ end, up to a point where I once desperately asked my colleague if he could have him in his class for a day because my patience had been used up completely and I couldn’t handle him anymore.
I felt like the worst teacher ever because the whole situation seemed so stuck and like there was no way out for neither of us. And stuck we were, for many more months to come.
Since I was supposed to be the adult and the professional in this scenario, every morning I proceeded to greet him with a smile and a cheerful “Good morning!“ even when each time, the response was just a mumble and a head hanging low, not meeting my eyes.
We continued like that for the longest time, until the day he wanted to end the friendship with his best friend after a silly fight. I intervened, by simply sitting them down and telling them that I didn’t allow their friendship to end. After a few minutes of talking to them about this, sulking faces tuned into sobbing ones. (The sobbing went on for half an hour. Oh the glorious teacher life.) While I fixed his relationship with his best friend, I might have fixed ours, too, but I didn’t realize it at that point.
With educating children, change comes ever so slowly. You feel like you are going nowhere for months and months, and while doing so, change comes sneaking up on you. Slowly and quietly, until it’s right there in front of you in a hilarious math test answer.
When suddenly you realize how much you enjoy having that particular kid in your class now. When you realize that when you greet him in the morning, he looks you in the eyes, smiles, and greets you back, asking you for the agenda of the day because he’s excited for the lessons to start.
For a while now, there’s been another kid who’s driving me equally insane, for different reasons. While I’m still fighting the urge to pull my hair out at least once a day, I’m hopeful we’ll figure this situation out also. With patience and time.
The only way little monsters can be tamed.