Sunday, August 22, 2010

Just LOVE 'Em

FROM LORNA: Ahhh…to be teaching high school again. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’ve recently returned to teaching high school art and graphic design after a 20 month leave of absence.

It’s always funny to me when I tell people I’m a high school teacher and their first reaction is , “Eww. That must be a hard job working with teens these days!” The look on their face is sheer disgust. It’s the face I would make if someone told me they cleaned port-a-potties for a living. But, in my experience as a high school teacher, teens get a bad rap. The majority of them are incredibly smart and articulate and exceptionally well-behaved.

But there is that small percentage of teens that are clearly unhappy in their lives and completely disappointed in the school system so they wreak havoc. I’ve always had one or two in each of my classes, and quite honestly, in the past, I didn’t particularly like them. I’d find myself in power struggles, in which, no matter what the outcome, nobody ever wins.

BUT…the one who LOVES the most WINS. Samahria’s quote was one that resonated with me this week when I found myself slipping into my old self with one of these students. I’ll call him “Nick.” Nick is argumentative. I swear if I went over to him and told him I’d give him $1000, I’m pretty sure he’d balk at what bank I was using and the types of bills I was giving him. From the moment he stepped foot in my classroom, he was clearly angry he had to be there, and he SOOOO didn’t want to participate in any of the activities I was offering.

But, I decided to love him anyway. Friday, I came to school with the intention to LOVE him, no matter what. So when I talked to him about how I was simply there to help him and I sincerely wanted him to be successful in this class and in life, I could actually feel a SHIFT in him. He suddenly had a sparkle in his eye. He didn’t stop being argumentative, but it seemed much more playful. When I asked Nick to help me pick up some items on the tables, he did it. I thanked him and he was quick to enthusiastically say “You’re welcome.”

Samahria, of course, is right. The one who loves the most definitely does WIN. No matter what the future brings for me and this kid, I will always feel GOOD about loving him. And with that, I will ALWAYS WIN.

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