October 10, 2008

Never Try to Get Negative Attention!

I went by Adams Middle School today where I spent two years of my life trying to trick teenagers into learning about stuff they weren't interested in. Teaching was exhausting and I complained about it a lot but I really loved it and miss it in many ways. It is so rewarding to build positive relationships with students that have never had good role models. And I loved having a creative outlet to come up with interesting hands-on activities and fun experiments. Also, some of the best people I have ever met are teachers and administrators in the school system. The people I worked with give me confidence that the educational system can't be too bad if there are people like them working hard every day.

Anyways, after I took care of the business for which I had stopped by, I went visiting around campus. My fear was that I would run into my students and not be able to remember their names. Sure enough - it happened. What was interesting was that I remembered all of the names of my 'good' students and had a total mental block remembering the names of my 'difficult' students. One student whom I had for 6th and 7th grade and was an especial terror had been completely erased from my mind. Surely I knew his name because I had written it on so many referrals but I had a total mental block. And yet, the 'perfect' students that I had spent much less time working with and worrying over I had a sharp recollection of their names, interests, comments, projects, ect. This pattern was repeated over and over again as I ran into probably 30 or 40 of my students.

This was a very simple observation but I thought it was really meaningful. First off, I think our minds have a way of holding on to positive things in life and purging itself of stressful or negative memories. I have also noticed this in regards to childbirth. Watching Sarah endure pregnancy has reminded me of all the forgotten discomforts I went through. Now, I only have a slight recollection of the pains and aches that seemed so debilitating at the time. That's really amazing to me and something I should be more grateful for! Second, I realized that although most of my students were acting out for attention and they at times received it, in the long run it had the opposite desired effect. That can be likened to life in many ways which I won't bore you with. Lastly, it reminded me of the scripture where the Lord says if we truly repent He will no longer remember our sins. That always seemed incomprehensible to me but I think maybe I understand a little more now, in a way.

In the end, it was hard to say goodbye, yet again, to so many friends. Teaching full-time is positively out of the question but it made me hope that I could find a less time consuming way of working with kids and feeling like I'm contributing. Funny, that sounds a lot like seminary. Very interesting....

No comments: