I recently heard a sermon on various Proverbs discussing getting rid of negative conflict in your home. As various Proverbs were read, I realized some Proverbs would be especially helpful to know as a teacher. The pastor would quote a proverb (for example, 15:1 "a gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger) and I would think "woah! that's why that works... because the Bible says it works that way." I know that doesn't sound revolutionary, but it was very timely for me.
Why timely, you ask? (even if you didn't ask I will gladly explain) Well, we've about hit that point where everyone is ready for spring break. You see, we have an ubsurd number of days off in the fall up until winter break, where there is 2 weeks off. Then in January, because of finals, there are some extra days off. However, since the end of January, we've been going for a long stretch. I am all for quality education and I'm also all for quality breaks. Plus, my student attendance is WAY down on Mondays and Fridays. (That's one of those things that surprised me about teaching at a city high school.) Anyway, back to the point. Everyone is ready for spring break. Ours is at the end of April. .. not march, APRIL! [Now, to all my friends who have to work 12 months a year instead of 9 and think I should stop complaining... we teachers are spoiled. i'll gladly accept that if you think that. And likewise, I will accept empathy from my teacher friends who know why it's nice to have the breaks.]
Also timely because there is this girl in my 4th period class. Now, if you ask my mom or any teacher I had early on in high school, they will quickly tell you I had mastered the eye-rolling-know-it-all-attitude by 13. but this girl has me beat. by a long shot. I managed to establish a semi-positive relationship with her early in the year, but music isn't her favorite subject and there have been some instances in which that relationship seems to have gone sour. (Now I know how the teachers that many students hate feel. There is a different level of in-your-face-confrontation at our school than the high school I graduated from and let's just say it's majorly elevated if the confronter dislikes the confrontee.) Unfortunately for this girl, as her mission seemingly was to take down my 4th period class, that class happens to be one of my best... they respond well, seem to enjoy singing (as much as a group of teenagers who are forced to be in choir can love singing), and the environment is almost always positive.
This story is getting too long. The point is, despite her outbursts, I was determined to employ Proverbs 15:1 with her at all times. Although I nearly lost it when I caught her cheating on the same test for the 4th time and she lied to my face about it (despite the fact that I never called home, always offered her an opportunity to come in and simply learn the information, and continued to let her retake the test in case she truly did know the material as she claimed).... except for that instance, i have responded to her with a "gentle answer."
I have seen her "wrath" disappear before my eyes. Yesterday and today, she spent her long division periods helping me by posting a new bulletin board with student work (2 hours worth of time). I also let them work on a project for me during class on the condition they made up the lesson in their free time and she did. It's not perfect... she still read durig class today (although we were just watching a movie) and I don't expect everything in our future to be coated with rainbows and sunshine, but... the word of God is true and I am thankful he's showing me how to depend on him and claim his promises, specifically as it relates to teaching.