I hope it doesn’t bug you too much, but I happen to be the kind of person who prays. This year, another teacher and I try to start the day with prayer. We pray for each other, our students and our administration. It is a pretty good way to start the day. I should also mention that this particular teacher is one of the sweetest, kindest humans on the planet. Even if I were not a praying type of person, I would probably agree to meet and pray with her each morning. She begins this activity with a hug and ends it with a hug. Who wouldn’t show up for that?
Our students are humans. Most humans have complicated lives. This means that our students come to us carrying all sorts of things with them. You might think that this is because I teach at a Title 1 school. It’s not. The students I taught at the elite private school also came to school carrying all sorts of things with them. Like I said, humans are complicated. When I first started teaching, I was super young, so I didn’t think about this as much as I should have. The beauty of getting older is that SOMETIMES you get a little bit wiser. SOMETIMES.
I want to be thoughtful and patient with my students. I recently read a twitter post that said this:
“Beneath every behavior is a feeling. And beneath every feeling is a need. And when we meet that need rather than focus on the behavior, we begin to deal with the cause not the symptom.” Ashleigh Warner.
That’s good stuff, right? I try to remember this when one of my students is in the place where they are struggling. It doesn’t mean that I allow them to continue their behavior, but it just means that as I guide them toward different choices, I keep their humanity and inherent value in mind. It doesn’t do me any good to take misbehavior personally (they aren’t thinking about me), and it doesn’t help for me to think that their behavior is WHO they are.
Teaching is complex, man. It takes everything you’ve got and sometimes even that isn’t enough. So, it doesn’t hurt to throw a prayer skyward, now and then, right? Also, the plus side of starting a day with prayer, other than the obvious reasons, is that it causes me to refocus on my intent. That’s another reason that teaching is complicated. My intention matters. It matters all day. It matters every day. Even on days when I’ve got a ridiculous cold and even on days when I’m tired, my intent matters. I suppose that is no different from any other job. We all need to show up to work focus, ready and prepared. Of course, if I come to work without my intent in mind, or without focus, things pretty much fall apart. Misbehavior ticks up, and if not checked it can dissolve into chaos pretty quickly.
All of this is just to say, that if you can, start every single day, with someone who has the kindest of hearts. Their kindness will spill over onto you, and set things in motion for a better day, every day that you do.
Keep moving forward,
With much love to Nanette