Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Lives of quiet desperation

Teaching this year has been a struggle that I've mentioned in several blogs. But about three weeks ago God and I had a good conversation and we decided that if I'm to keep teaching, I have to conqueror my own fears and disappointments and concentrate on meeting the needs of students in my classroom.

One of the first things I did in that new frame of mind was begin to find those unnoticed students (the quiet ones, the pensive ones, the ones who create no difficulty, but neither do they seek help or attention) and simply say something nice to them, give them some extra attention. Since I teach Middle School, I teach 140-150 students every day (30 at a time in 40 minute periods) so it is a challenge to find time to talk to students other than "write this in your planner", "do you have your homework", "you'll find the answer in this paragraph," "yes, that's a verb," etc. Privacy is also an issue; we're constantly surrounded by dozens of other students so personal conversation is not easy.

But this week I collected journals to record grades. In one of the quietest student's journal she had written, "Mrs. Huerta talked to me!"

I remember that day, she was the last one out the door. She looked sad, quieter than usual and I just stopped her on the way out the door. "Are you okay? You look very sad today. Is there anything I can do to help you?"

She just shook her head "no", sort of smiled and moved on. I had forgotten about the incident until I read her journal. It had to have been written later, either in another class or the next day.

I've been working to make opportunities to connect with the kids, but I'll have to redouble my efforts.

Henry David Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." Our challenge as Christians is to touch the lives of men and women so that they may find release to sing that song. Even other Christians.

3 comments:

My Kid's Mom said...

Isn't it amazing how such small gestures can have such a powerful impact on other's lives?

The age group you are teaching is the most vulnerable - they are trying to desperately to "fit in" at whatever cost it may take, yet that cost can have huge consequences. I see a lot of kids in this age group who are bullied and taunted for being "quiet" or "different" or "too smart" or not being the "right color" - and it's up to the adults to make sure these kids feel loved and protected. God bless you for your efforts.

PJ said...

As much as I know about kids I was astonished that she remembered to write it down later. I really must work harder to reach out!

Thanks for the encouragement

Kyla said...

Good for you. People really take notice when you take the time to say a little something extra, even if it only takes a second or two.

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