Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Manners, Tact and Graciousness...Oh my...

We have enough people who 
tell it like it is-now we could use 
a few who tell it like it can be.
                    -Robert Orben

Update- July 6th: It's amazing how God works and prayers are answered. Thank you to all of you who prayed for me and for my student. After lots
of love and positive attention, All is Well!  

I came home today with a heavy heart. Truthfully, I just felt discouraged.
Teaching is a very hard job. It's wonderful and I love it and some days it can just
"Take the stuffing right out of you," as my Grandma used to say. She was an 
elementary teacher and believe me those folks are angels! Now please don't misunderstand me. I have so many amazing, bright, empathic, caring and energetic students. Most of them are. I love working with them and I leave those encounters feeling encouraged and energized.

And then there are a few others who literally are so hurt themselves that they 
inflict hurt on others. All the caring in the world hits against a defensive exterior 
that throws back insults and anger. One of those encounters left me scratching my 
head today. Words are powerful. They can do great good or they can hurt. Teacher's words can hurt students, but student's words to teachers can also hurt.

I have taught for a long, long time (48 years total and 38 years at this college) and not very much anymore throws me for a loop. However, the words of a student today left me speechless. Stunned. Shocked.  And what was saddest of all, was when I tried to explain that you just don't communicate to your teacher in such an insulting way, the student had no idea that their communication and use of language was inappropriate.

It left me wondering if the gap between where I am and how I was raised and where this student is coming from is SO great that there is no way to cross the divide into understanding. Could that possibly be?

I wasn't sure if I was over-reacting, so I mentioned the student's  comments, without telling their name, to several colleagues. They all looked at me in horror. 

We have recently had a rash of students making inappropriate comments, even threats to teachers, in some of our classes. All in the name of "I'm just telling it like it is!" 

One dear friend, who loves teaching and gets along well with a variety of students, looked at me stunned, almost breathless after I told him what happened and he said, "We've come to this? Common manners and graciousness and tact have left the building!"

I am so torn about how to reach this student. I have been praying about it all day long.
I am seeking God's guidance about what to do and what to say. The student is lost and hurting, but I also have to have boundaries about what is appropriate. I appreciate the desire to tell it like it is, but telling it like it is and doing so in a positive manner is what my classes are all about.

Could I ask you to please pray for me that I might know what to say and do to help this student? Could I ask you to pray for their hurting heart? I would so appreciate your prayers! 

Thanks for listening!
God Bless!
Love, Linda


1 comment:

Peggy Sue said...

Aaah I will say prayer's that you find a unique way to get through to this student. I wish this student could just read your post! They would know were your heart is concerning them. Words do hurt and there is no real reason to use them like some people do...But some people are raised in box's and do not know how to be different. love to you and many prayers!

Soul Work in the Deep Waters...

              Entrance into another's soul                   is always a sacred honor. It is a gorgeous day, here in Spokane, Washing...