Saturday, September 29, 2012

teaching love

As a teacher, I have a lot of responsibilities. I grade sloppily written homework. I attend staff meetings each week without fail. I write loving letters of recommendation, assignments on the board, and IEPs. I, occasionally, give fair (and deserved) consequences.

One of my responsibilities is one not listed explicitly in my contract. It is the responsibility I have to teach my students how to maneuver this world we live in. I teach my students patience, patience, patience. I teach them how to take deep breaths when a certain someone loses the paper you spent all night working on, the one you deleted from your computer right after printing it out. I teach my kids that life is not fair, but that they ought to spend their lives making it as fair as possible for themselves and those around them. I teach them perseverance. I teach them informed resistance. I teach them how to look inside themselves and find what is good, what is smart, what is beautiful.

I also teach them to love. Being a teacher is not easy; there are days when my face contorts into the irritable expression my students have come to know as "Ms. Chatti's stink eye." Some days, I am disappointed in their behavior, and I let them know⎯stealing is never okay; cheating only cheats yourself; those words are ugly and not to ever exist in my classroom; you should not have called your teacher a bitch and stomped out. My students know, though, that everything I say and do is out of love. The next day, no matter what happened the one before, I am waiting at the front of my classroom with a grin. My students know that I will never give up on them, that I will never shut them out, that I will never decide they are stupid or mean or bad. As long as I am their teacher, they will begin each class knowing that they are loved exactly as they are.

Our school has just started a Gay Straight Alliance. Here's the video I created to get the word out to the students that:

1) there's a place they will be supported and safe
and
2) the entire staff has their backs

Enjoy! :)

5 comments :

  1. I am so happy to know that schools are created these safe places for students! Being a teacher is an amazing thing- you play such a big role in the student's life, beyond books!

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  2. This is so, so amazing. I wish all schools could show this level of caring, understanding and respect!! You're making me like the idea of studying education so much more!!! :D

    The Wildest of Dreams

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so beautiful! Your school sounds amazing. All of the teachers seem so accepting.

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  4. This is so beautiful! I understand every word you say. Being a teacher myself, I understand how it's possible to love each child for who they are, regardless of what has happened before. One child purposefully and viciously stabbed me with a pencil last year but I still care for him very deeply.

    Becky
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Awesome! This is so beautifully done. You will change lives!

    ReplyDelete

Comments make my day⎯really! I love reading what you have to say. Hope to hear from you. :)

Best,
Leila

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