“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
– Romans 8:25 NIV
Just before posting this blog, during my planning time, I had a student enter my room who has been removed twice for disruption and walked out 2 other times, sincerely apologize for his conduct. Though what matters more is a change in behavior, which I expressed to him, humility is an important trait students must learn in order to be healthy, productive citizens post school. I recall a time I tried to force apologies, where as now gentle/firm persistence is allowing students to grow to the level where they are willing to take more ownership of their conduct, even when they’re misbehaving that allows me more freedom to extend grace, mercy, kindness and love in its various forms. I expressed back sincere appreciation of his apology and we had a brief dialogue where he even asked where he would like for me to have him sit in the classroom. I reminded him I want him to take responsibility for that and make consistent appropriate choices that would allow him to sit where he chooses and just understand that if he cooperates he doesn’t need me to tell him where to sit. I also reminded him that the persistent attention is not personal, because there are others in that particular class who misbehave and create disruption, but I want him to take responsibility for his choices and know when to stop when directed to. He’ll be returning shortly so we’ll see how it goes (smile).
As challenging as it can be, I’d rather endure moments of misbehavior and teach them how to be empowered to perform and produce than continue the traditional means of seeking to punish misconduct. Truthfully, I grow more in faith and love, as Christ would have me to, when I challenge myself to operate by grace than seeking to be in control. Influence is power when I learn to make use of it to empower my students then seeking power by trying to control them. There is a proverb that says it is better to be patient than a warrior and one who controls his temper is better than one who takes a city. The more I challenge myself to grow in operating by grace, I see more growth in my ability to work with challenging students and growth in them responding to me.
Question. Is it better to be liked or respected? I have been reflecting upon this lately. I’ll share my thoughts later. What do I hope for as a classroom teacher, besides the expulsion of all troubled students within my classroom? (lol) In what I hope for, am I waiting patiently? What does that mean as a classroom teacher? Consider gentle/firm persistence. Firm persistence with an obstinate child may provoke more conflict, so I’m gentle with my persistence remaining firm in expectation. I repeat the refrain of being cooperative, focused, diligent, patient and respectful. That’s where the patience comes in, because it will take a moment for some students within my classroom to embrace the principles I am expecting them to operate in within my classroom. I need patience with myself in seeking to step up to the challenge of enduring the process of doing this (lol).
May God give you patience and wisdom in how to make use of gentle/firm persistence to help you teach, influence and inspire learning.