The short truth is: nobody.
She has raised herself for the past five, seven, maybe ten years. And to be honest, she’s done a pretty good
job. She has found ways to protect
herself, provide for her needs (both physically and emotionally), and make it
through another day. You wouldn’t want
her life. Be honest. What she does is hard. What she does is brutal. She doesn’t seem to feel remorse. Does she care about anybody but herself? No, she doesn’t know how. She can’t give what she’s never received.
be. Many children go to school each
day undernourished, tired, hurting or scared.
So what can we, as educators, do?
While we might not be able to turn the tide for these kids, we could
start by making today a little easier.
What would that look like in a classroom?
I’ve lived. I was not one of those
kids, but I’m raising three of them.
They aren’t those kids anymore either, but they used to be. Their insight has made me a better teacher;
actually, it’s made me a better person.
What is it like for a hungry student to sit through a math lesson? Do fractions really matter if I haven’t eaten
since lunch yesterday? Will I be able to
answer comprehension questions in social studies if all I can think about is
what happened at home last night? Do I
really care if the other students like me if I know I’ll only be at this school
temporarily, until I get pulled from one foster home and put in another?
for them and what would that look like in our classrooms? Start small.
Start with a smile. That’s it. Decide to smile at that hard-to-like student
when really all you want to do is glare.
It’s easy to love the loveable ones, but loving the hard to love ones
will change the world, even if it’s just their little world.
it? Well, there’s more to it then just
that, but it’s a start. Sometimes the
biggest hurdle is the one that gets you past the hard feelings. The feelings that we would never admit to
because it makes us look harsh and even a little mean. The feelings that surprise us because we
never thought we would be able to dislike a child. It’s called grace. Give that child a little grace by flashing
them a big, sincere smile. Ok, so maybe
it won’t be sincere at first. It might
be all you can do to use a soft voice and curl up the edges of your mouth (over
gritted teeth, no less!). But, it’s a
grace. Remember, grace is never
deserved. It is a gift. Starting tomorrow give your hard-to-love
student the gift of grace through a smile.
Never underestimate the power of a smile, especially to a kiddo stuck in
a really hard place. Yours may be the only
one they see all day.
different sets of parents and three different schools. We now make up one family. Each one can remember a teacher who impacted
their lives with grace. They know how
tough they were on their teachers, how
challenging it must have been to deal with some of their behavior, but what do
they remember most? They remember the
teacher who smiled at them anyway.
grace? It might be difficult, but I
don’t think it will be too long before you find your smile less phony and more
sincere. Give it a try. Who knows?
Maybe one day that smile will be returned!
About Jennie Sulfridge
A mom to three and a middle school science teacher, I am a passionate advocate for all things adoption and all things educational. After working with students stuck in hard places, I saw a need I could fill. In 2006 my oldest daughter, Hannah, joined me on this amazing journey we call life. In 2008 we welcomed Ashley and in 2011 Amy rounded out our family of four. We laugh together, cry together and most importantly, share ordinary, everyday moments together. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Please join us on our adventure at A House Called Home. I also have a Teachers Pay Teachers Store.