I came to a conclusion tonight, which led to a decision. The conclusion: I'm not a patient person. The decision: I will try to be a patient person.
First, the conclusion. This isn't really a shock to me. I've never considered myself patient. It's been an issue all my life. I was born three weeks early. I don't like to wait. That said, I teach first graders. People assume you must have a lot of patience to do that. I do think I'm more patient in that setting than many people would be. But that doesn't make me patient by any means.
So, the decision. I have another week and a half out of my classroom. My group of kids this year is challenging and a number of them are struggling with the transition to another teacher for this period. From my vantage point the intern is working exceptionally hard to use an appropriate tone and volume and language but some students are not responding. I've felt an urge to take a really hard line and set them straight.
I'm rethinking it as I watch other teachers. Teachers who are patient. Teachers who are what I want to be when it comes to interacting with their young students and building community. When I return to my classroom I may bite countless holes in my tongue but I'm going to respond with patience. I am going to make a concerted effort to view my students as their parents view them, as I view my daughters.
Most importantly, I'm going to make this my most significant focus. I can only do so much well at any given time and I'm going to focus on building habits of patience and gentleness. If that means my instruction is not as strong as it could be I'm going to accept that as a worthwhile trade off.
Image from Brett Jordan's flickr