It’s funny that I actually learned how to forgive my students, from my students themselves. They always say that kids say the “darnest” things, and in fact they actually do. Some words may tickle you, but some really hurt.
My 11-year old student once told me that she didn’t like my lessons (with an attitude) because I ‘worked her out’ a lot by giving her lots of writing worksheets to practice on … and she hates writing. I didn’t have a choice because she was going for her major exams and I was also pressured a little by her mother to help her with writing. So I was caught in between the pressures of my ‘client’ who is her mother and her reluctance to cooperate with me in our tuition sessions.
When she said that she didn’t like my lessons, I was taken aback and anger slowly sunk in. Was I angry? Of course. I took pride in my lessons and when I was slapped with such negativity, it didn’t go really well for me. I snapped back, showing my authority between us. After that, I felt horrible deep inside. The horrible guilt welled up in me. As much as I wanted to stand up for what was right, I knew I had done something terribly wrong. I had hurt a child.
The girl looked at me blankly. I supposed she too was taken aback. Tears started streaming down her cheeks. Our lesson fir the day came to an abrupt end. There was a moment of silence between us. Her face turned red. I took a deep breath and I apologized to her. I gave her a soft pat on her shoulder and her reaction to my apologies, amazed me. She dried up her tears and then after a while, we started talking. What happened earlier, somewhat disappeared from her mind.
From this incident, I learned that no matter how much my students may have hurt me, I needed to forgive them as their teacher, their guardian, their helper. This girl had taught me a lot of forgiveness and moving on. Teaching isn’t about promoting your knowledge and asserting authority, and taking pride in doing so, it’s about learning to cooperate with “little humans” and learning a great deal about communication and relationships.