Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dear Journal,

This is so true...

The true teacher can impart to his pupils few gifts so valuable as the gift of his own companionship. It is true of men and women, and how much more of youth and children, that only as we come in touch through sympathy can we understand them; and we need to understand in order most effectively to benefit. To strengthen the tie of sympathy between teacher and student there are few means that count so much as pleasant association together outside the schoolroom....The sacrifice demanded of the teacher would be great, but he would reap a rich reward. 
Education pg. 212

I am more and more convinced that the best chances a teacher has to eternally impact students are outside of the classroom. Students expect teachers to give them time in the classroom. They expect deans to give them time in the dorm when they are on duty. They expect work supervisors to work with them when they are working.

But what really means something to them is when teachers, deans, work supervisors genuinely desire to be with them when they don't have to.

Yes, the sacrifice demanded may be great, but the reward? It is cheap enough.

Sunday I was on duty in the dorm. I have correspondence classwork up to my ears and graduation day is looming like a 2000-foot cliff that I'm hurtling toward at 100 miles per hour and my brakes don't work.. Desperately hoping to be able to get some things done, I settled down with my laptop only to be interrupted a hundred times by the ringing phone, or a girl with a question, or somebody that needed their room unlocked... you name it. Finally, in the afternoon most of the girls left for a wedding and the dorm got quiet. I eagerly grabbed my computer and started getting into focus mode. Just as I was starting to grasp the concept of encomiums well enough to do something with it I was discovered by the only two girls still in the dorm.

"Miss Beth!! We're BORED! Can we do something?"

I suggested doing homework, but that went over like a lead balloon.

I could see their faces appraising me; their little minds seemed to wonder if I was so obtuse that I didn't see or care about their needs. I could feel stress rising in me, I really needed this time to work... It seemed so unjust that they couldn't understand the pressure I'm under. But how should I expect them to understand? They know nothing of the pressures of adulthood. How woud it look to them if I said I couldn't be bothered and sent them away to entertain themselves? So, the laptop clicked shut and we went to Sarrs house and played table games and made chilaquiles for supper.

Those couple hours worked a phenomenal difference in my relationship with those two girls. We laughed, we talked, we teased each other and just enjoyed ourselves. Later in the evening when one of them had an emotional breakdown I was allowed into her circle of trust enough to be of comfort (she hasn't let me that close in weeks.)

Correspondence work? well, maybe I won't get it finished. But even if I don't, it will have been a small sacrifice. Far better that I understand the work of a true teacher than that I understand encomiums and epthalamion.

This is the full life.

1 comment:

  1. I will never doubt the truth of that quote after testing it in Cambodia. I know I read it before I went, and the principle stayed in my memory (Praise God!) despite the fact that I forgot the quote until I read your post. I didn't realize how absolutely critical association outside of the classroom was to my students' acceptance or rejection of Christianity until they began sharing that they thought we were just more Christian hypocrites until we "played" with them and showed we really cared about their lives. Television and radio programs have their place in reaching the unreached, but unless they see a living example of Christianity, how will they ever know what it looks like?