Since school has started, I have had this one student in my 7th Grade Math class that has been so tough. Every teacher has sent this student to the office at least once. My first two weeks I sent him twice.
This kid has had a rough life and has seen everything. I feel so bad for him and what he has had to go through at such a young age. Because of this, this student has struggled with his behavior and being compliant towards the teacher. He knows math. He is actually really smart, but he refuses to put any effort in and takes away from the learning of the students around him.
The other day, he was so distracting that I sent him out into the hall. I had the students doing some practice and extension work and I went out to confront him. I had so many things going on in my mind and I was full of frustration for this student.
“WHY DOESN’T HE JUST SIT THERE AND DO HIS WORK? IS IT REALLY THAT HARD??”
I walked into the hall and observed him kicking at the brick outside of my room. There were so many things that I just wanted to yell at him for but for some reason I couldn’t.
I looked at this student, and asked him to look at me. I told him “You know what? I know that you know how to do this. I know you are smarter than you are trying to make everyone believe you are. I know that there are teachers at this school that send you to the office when you misbehave and I know that I even sent you away at the beginning. I know that is what you are used to is getting sent away. But that is not how it is going to work in my class. I want you here. I want you to learn. I like having you in my class. You have friends here and I know they want you here. But, I can’t have you not doing your work. I can’t have you disrespecting your classmates. But, I promise, I do want you here.”
I watched this student look at me, in silence, with this weird look on his face. I could tell what he was thinking, “Wow, she really does want me here”.
The bell was getting close to ringing so I had this student wait until everyone had left. Then I asked him “So, are you going to be better for me tomorrow?” He didn’t make eye contact, but shook his head yes and then left.
The next day he came to school, got a pencil and a paper for the first time without me asking, and sat down to begin his bell ringer. I was SHOCKED. That day he completed a worksheet, and did his ALEKS topics and I rewarded him by letting him sit by his friends for the end of class.
This student sometimes needs some tough love still, but he is doing tremendously better.
I have learned so much about Heavenly Father through this teaching process. I think that I am a lot like this student. I disobey his commandments and I struggle to be like he wants me to be all the time. Sometimes he has to chasten me, but there is one thing that always stays the same.
His love for me. His love for us.
He wants us to be able to return to live with Him. He wants us to find the JOY in our lives that come because he LOVES us.
When we sin, struggle, doubt, he forgives us and instead asks us “So, are you going to be better for me tomorrow?”
As we start a new week this week, think about this. As we get to start over, are we going to be better for HIM?
God really does love us despite our weaknesses and shortcomings. He loves us through our good days and our bad days.
He will always be there for us. I am so grateful that I have such a loving Heavenly Father.