Anyone who reads this regularly knows how much I admire teachers. I’m going to climb up on my soap-box again about them, because, well, I can.
As adults, we go through our lives interacting with other people. We often tread on people’s toes. I’m always reading about powerful people in business who are bastards – who tear people down, belittle people, never say sorry – I’m sure you’ve read them too. It also seems that a lot of grown-up people aren’t very good at saying sorry. Sad, but true.
Actually, I digress. Because I didn’t want to talk about saying sorry. I wanted to talk about forgiving. Well, grudge-harbouring. As adults, we do this. OK – you mightn’t (although I’m pretty sure you do), but I do. I like to pretend that it’s so I don’t get hurt again, and I’m just being protective of myself, but it’s also avoiding certain people and situations. I don’t think someone has behaved well? I’ll try not to have to interact with them again. (C’mon – I’m sure you do it too, if you were going to be really honest.) Have you wronged me in some way? I’ll remember it.
You know a group of people who don’t do that at all? Teachers. (Well, the good ones. I see a lot of these.) Teachers who constantly let children in their care turn over a new leaf. Day after day. Clean slate. They don’t harbour grudges. A parent criticises them? They’ll not allow it to affect their dealings with the child. I see this happen, and it takes superhuman strength. I’ve seen a teacher get dressed down by a parent for not treating their child the way the parent believed the child deserved. Really dressed down. Actually, the child wasn’t behaving well, but the parent wasn’t going to admit that. Hadn’t behaved well all term, in fact. (But what would I know? I’m just the music teacher…) And then the next day, this particular teacher came up with a way forward (sorry – I hate that phrase. Reminds me of a politician, but I can’t think of another way to describe what I saw…) where they addressed the child with a nickname, and gave this kid a way to start completely anew. And it worked. The whole class started to use the nickname. This kid was a new person. And I was full of admiration for this teacher. Still am.
Where else do you get people doing that for others? Where else do you see people able to do that for others?
Don’t get me wrong – I do think there should be consequences for your actions. But the next time you see a teacher, just remember what they do. Remember how they forgive each kid they teach. Over and over and over. And over again.