Be the difference

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

My heart comes to you this week very heavy teacher friends...
with the most recent shooting in Florida I'm spent.  I'm sad, frustrated, and beyond angry!  Why don't the powers at be listen?  Why isn't there more funding in education?  Why have counselors and psychologists been cut out of the budget?
I've done some proactive things if you are curious, I'm not just complaining.  I've called representatives, I've donated to, I've joined with thousands of teacher friends to share our frustrations.  #armmewith 
But I do know one thing I can do every single day between the 4 walls of my classroom.  It is a simple thing really, it doesn't cost any money and it comes naturally to me - well, probably to most of us that chose this profession, at least I would hope.

arm me with

It's to LOVE ON my students each year as well as OTHER students on my campus.  I find those kids like a magnet : those that are fatherless, or mope around campus.  I don't care what grade they are, I will find them.  I seek them out when I have playground duty, I get to know their names quickly.  I pursue them guys...I really do.
The girl that just moved to the area that never looks anyone in the eye, yeah that one.  I know her by name.  I ask her daily how she is.  I compliment her on something and get her to smile.  I check on her at snack to see if she's still smiling and give her a high 5.  THESE kids NEED US more than EVER!  The ones that are broken and hurting, the ones that could fall through the cracks.  The ones that are always looking at the black top and quiet.  They need you!  They need an adult in their corner that will check in on them.  
I ate lunch with the most difficult boy on campus every Wednesday.  I had him in first grade years ago and as a 5th grader he would come down and have lunch with me.  We didn't have the same lunch - it overlapped just enough that we could share 15 minutes together.  HE SHOWED UP EVERY SINGLE TIME!  He was a troubled kid, he had a chip on his shoulder, he had referrals daily.  BUT, he wanted to and looked forward to eating lunch with me a teacher, not a celebrity, not a famous you tuber...just plain ole me.  
Guess what?!!?  I listened to him, I asked him questions.  I HEARD him, sometimes he vented about a current teacher he had, I listened.  Sometimes he vented about other kids, I listened.  We would also laugh and I would always try to find something we could celebrate together.  If he turned his homework in on time, or didn't get in trouble.  His reward sometimes would be to spend 20 minutes in my class if he met a behavioral goal.  He actually wanted to do that.  Again, just me - an average everyday adult that pursued a kid that would otherwise be ignored and come to hate school.  I'm no superhero, I'm not extraordinary.  
I love this line from the movie While you were sleeping - you can watch it ( here ) go to :38
Sandra Bullock says to Peter          :
" You give up your seat everyday on the train."  
Peter says, " Well that's not heroic."
Sandra replies, "It is to the person that sits in it."

So go out there and be heroic friends!  Whether it's to the kids in your own class or a child you see moping around campus.  We can't save all the broken souls of the world - we can't truly stop evil and school shootings.  BUT, maybe the boy that I sat and had lunch with every Wednesday...maybe he was on that path to ... well who knows?  I don't want to think about that. Maybe he needed me as a caring adult in his life to help change his inner demons just a bit.  Maybe he'll have a couple more like me in middle and high school and just this handful of teachers that reached out and looked out for him is enough.  YOU NEVER KNOW, if I can be the adult or one of them that makes a child realize he's loved and it stops even one from hurting themselves or others than I've done well.
Be that adult friends!  We can't control congress, we can't control the lack of funding for counselors... but we can control how we deal with the angry child that lashes out.  We can choose to be extra patient and kind.  We can choose to listen and take the time to show love even when they may be disrespectful.  Our most difficult kids need us the most!!!!  I'm always drawn to these kids, my heart aches for them.  Some say but you aren't their parent, just let it go.  NO!!!  I say NO WAY!  God has placed that child in my class for a reason and I am responsible for my actions towards that child.  I WILL take a bullet for any student but I WILL NOT let a child slip through the cracks.
At least we can control this - every single day we can control this.
Be that teacher - make that difference - plant that seed that shows you care.
I'm proud to be a teacher and proud to know thousands of teachers that do this every day as well.

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