Halfway through the day, you want to cry. You are thinking, “Why did I want to teach again?” It’s that child. That one is getting to you. You have tried everything from sitting him in a corner, rewards, punishment, parent calls only to realize the parent is just like the child…what now?
College didn’t teach you this. Maybe they did and you skipped that day, or somehow you feel as if you missed something.
You go to yet another professional development only to hear more about data and creative new ways to waste your time. We know that data drives education; we know it is a good tool. But for crying out loud, we can tell you what our students do and don’t know for a lot less money and effort and move on to something else. How about behavior modification techniques for that ADHD kid who has an ADHD parent that doesn’t understand they both need some medicine? This is in no way meant to sound disrespectful, but I know there are some of you screaming for help!
Where was this in college? I remember one professor giving us great advice for discipline in a classroom. One. I can tell you more of what he said right now than I can of anything anyone else said for four years of college.
So, what’s the answer? I can only speak from my experience as an English teacher of twenty-three years with a short time spent in every grade from 4th on up to a few years at a junior college. This is not an easy question to answer.
Let’s review the conversation that my daughter and I had last week about this very thing. She has said that she is giving me lots of great material for my blog. True. She reminds me of all the things I wish someone had taught me. So here goes.
- Try a unique reward system. This child may be the only one getting rewarded for doing something that the other children already do. This one needs bringing along.
- Recruit your prinicipal’s help, guidance counselor and any other professionals are available. They get paid more for a reason. They have training in this.
- Get to know the parent. Unfortunately, apples don’t fall far from the tree as we say in the south.
- If you get a assistant, utilize them greatly.
- Try to find the triggers for bad behavior. How can you change any of that?
- These really need much more attention. What are ways that you can give it positively?
- Be consistent. An adult who is consistent is probably new for this child. This will take time.
- Remember that he or she is growing. That’s on your side. He or she could outgrow a phase.
Now, let’s get to the real problem: it’s spiritual. We live in a world ruled by the enemy, and if he can discourage you in any way, he will. If he can convince you that this gig is up, that you must find a better job, that you are not good enough, he will. Do you see how this is spiritual? If you were not changing lives on a daily basis, the enemy would live you alone. As my
friend Brenda Pittman says, “When I wake up in the morning, I want the enemy to say, ‘Oh, no-she’s up.'”
Not too long ago, I had a student that hated me. It didn’t matter what I did, she hated me. She hated us all. God taught me that there is nothing I can do. I am out of control, and it is out of my hands. God has taught me that if I mean business that I need to fast and pray. So I fasted. I prayed. I begged God for a break through. And it came. We ended up not being best buddies, but I saw God move. That was all I wanted.
This is the stiff talk that I need when I want to give up, and I will try to go back and read this when I forget my own words! How silly of me! So here goes:
“Quit trying to do this on your own. God knows that little creature inside and out. He knows how that one is wired. He knows what that one goes home to everyday, and it is probably not good. I will pray, I will fast, I will read up on fasting so that I know more about what that is ( I can recommend a good book on that if you want), and I will never, ever, ever give up. Giving up is not an option. I will pray that God will give me renewed energy and stamina. My patience may run out, but God has an endless supply.”
Now it is settled. Go to bed, get some sleep, buy some chocolate. Every time that child acts up, stuff about five more M & M’s in your mouth: everything is going to be ok.
Pray these verses back to God and claim His truth and tell the enemy to go to Hell (his rightful home):
God, I know that today no weapon formed against me shall stand (Isaiah 54:17).
God, you are my refuge, my strength, and my ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
Remember friend, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I look a lot like my King Jesus when I persevere in difficult times. That’s my goal today-to look like my King.
Remember to post God’s word in your classroom. Let the power of God’s word penetrate the darkness.
Praying for you,