This is part of the title to CH. II of our book, and as this school year begins, I want to share a memory with you.
Years ago I was a middle school secretary while studying for my BA degree in Education when something happened that really impressed on me the importance of being an encouraging, caring teacher. I answered one of the three phones in the school office and heard a young voice on the other end: “I want to report myself tardy,” he said. “Ok – who is this? What’s going on,” I replied. “I missed the bus,” was the answer.
I had trouble hearing the boy because of the noisy background. A female adult was screaming and cursing at him as he was trying to give me the message and get out of the house. I told him to come to the office when he made it to school by walking, and I would sign him in. But as I hung up the phone, I hurt for him. This was the environment he was leaving and would return to in the afternoon. No seeming support, and a truly bad atmosphere. When he arrived at school, would he be encouraged or disappointed again by the response of the adults in his life?
Teachers could add their students’ horror stories to this one because every year they encounter situations that are not good for children. They have the opportunity to counter the negative responses with positive ones and encourage their students instead of screaming at them. Self-esteem can be lifted instead of deadened, and smiles do a world of good to a hurting heart. I encourage you in the classroom to be the teacher that makes a difference, especially for those students who need it so desperately. You will never know how much it can change their lives. Teach curriculum, but show you care. It will make a big difference in how they view themselves.
I ran across this example several weeks ago and put it on my FB page. I thought I would share it again now because it illustrates what I’ve been trying to say. You will never know what some of your students face every.single.day.
God bless you as you make a difference.
Sue – Voice II
I Ain’t Got a Pencil,” by Joshua T. Dickerson
I woke myself up
Because we ain’t got an alarm clock
Dug in the dirty clothes basket,
Cause ain’t nobody washed my uniform
Brushed my hair and teeth in the dark,
Cause the lights ain’t on
Even got my baby sister ready,
Cause my mama wasn’t home.
Got us both to school on time,
To eat us a good breakfast.
Then when I got to class the teacher fussed
Cause I ain’t got no pencil!