Monday, November 5, 2007

Just a Little Patience....

I am often complimented for my seemingly infinite patience. Most days, I have to admit I am a freak of nature where patience is concerned. Today was not one of those days. First of all, after three or four “What page are we on??” questions within the span of two minutes, one naturally clenches one’s teeth just a little bit. And so what if one student every couple of questions while correcting in class has to ask, “What was the answer for number 2 again (or 3,4,5)?” That’s par for the course in my classroom, and since I am overflowing with charity, I can take it. Every once in a while, though, the limits of my patience are especially drained. It happens when certain especially-taxing students forget what a flipping decent teacher I am and get pissy with me.

As I returned corrected assignments to kids today, I calmly stated, “If you do not have a paper on your desk, it means I did not get one from you, so you’ll need to turn it in. “Skippy” didn’t have one. Frowning, he said, (in a hostile tone, dripping with contempt) “Well, you could have asked me for it.” This was one of those times when the words forming in my mouth included (among other gems): “Yes, and I’m so sorry I forgot about being your personal secretary as well as your mother, maid, and zookeeper. How could I have been so negligent?!” Instead, I replied, “It is not my responsibility to turn in your homework or to beg for your homework. The fact that three out of four students in this room happened to give me their paper at the end of class suggests that I probably did ask for it, and that you did not hear me. That you did not turn it in does not make you a miserable human being; I did not attack you. I simply asked for your assignment. It’s no big deal. Just turn it in, but don’t snap on me.” Man!

Today made me remember that I can give and give and give, but I have to also remember to get “filled up” again. If my reserves get emptied, I’ll be no good to anyone. If I expect my EBD students to fill up my emotional “tank,” I will likely be left dying of emotional thirst. Instead, I need to fill up at home, so that’s why I left at 3:15pm today. And that’s why I’m going to bed. Good night.


  1. Hi and thanks for dropping by my way! I adore the blog title and your mom sounds delightful :)

    Kudos to you for being able to keep your patience. I used to work as a behavioural therapist with a girl with autism, so I know how stressful even one-on-one can be!

  2. What a week! Such a good reminder to be filled up at the right source! Thanks for your suggestions--I am starting small with a little air freshner and a little more color on the walls. I would like to do more with light when I can get ahold of the fire marshall's policy in my area.


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