Day 7.Thank goodness I have so many close, dear friends on Facebook. Take my old chum the Dalai Lama, for example. His post this morning was a welcome voice of positivity in a feed that has gotten so bad and so terrifying that for the first time, I really just need to turn it off. And then, well, Hello Dalai!
Teaching has been an enormous lesson in compassion. I have two class periods that are entirely off the wall, and it's so challenging and difficult at times--these two classrooms get so chaotic--that it feels impossible to cultivate a culture of warm heartedness. These kids aren't paying attention; somehow I'm not holding their attention. It would seem that they are being intentionally disruptive, intent on destroying anyone else's opportunity to actually learn and have fun. In the height of the chaos, I get frustrated, but contain it as well as possible, hoping that a stern moment or two will scrae the bejaysus out of them and get them in line. So far, that hasn't worked. Then after they leave, I pack up and clean up feeling deflated. Bad kids, I say! You can see mischief in their eyes in class; you can see them thinking, how can I break the rules? What can I get away with?
But of course, it's not bad kids. You see these same children out in public with their parents and the devilish look is gone from their eyes, and they look innocent, vulnerable, full of love. You realize how lovable they are, and how much they want to love.
So how can we encourage an internal desire to "behave," an internal motivation to learn? How can we make them want to do the right thing? I'm sure the solution is to create a culture of compassion, a classroom in which they know that they are accepted, loved, and wanted.
If I ever figure out how to make that happen, I'll let you know. Every week, I'm trying something new and I'll keep going til I get these kids on target.
In the meantime, expect me to be making a bee line from school to the liquor cabinet every Friday at 3:45.