A New View in the Classroom

A New View in the Classroom

The beginning of school almost always makes me think of my early teaching experiences in a large inner city high school. I learned a valuable lesson that changed how I think about students and in fact, about others, too. I was right out {{more}} of college in my first few weeks of handling a classroom. At first I was just grateful to have a job and to be teaching. But I soon realized this wasn’t going to be easy and that my college courses and student teaching had not prepared me for this challenge. The students were unruly, frustrated and angry because of recent redistricting. I could quickly see that my experience with discipline was not adequate to help in these crowded, difficult classes. I sought suggestions from the more experienced teachers. Most were not helpful or encouraging. I just remember one long-time teacher saying, “Just send them out of the room;” and me thinking, “Half the class?” After several weeks and much discouragement, I thought, “I have got to get out of this school. These kids are horrible.” I began to look at outlying districts where I thought things would be better and much easier. The turning point came and I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I came home from school and announced to my husband that the kids were awful, and I would not be going back and nothing could make me. Then that evening, a friend I had not seen in several years came to see me. I, of course, poured out all of my woes, hoping for her sympathy and pity. Instead she told me, “You are not seeing these students as God’s children, as He sees them.” I was thinking, “You have not been to this school.” She told me I had something important to share with them.The Bible teaches that God is “a very present help in trouble.” I knew I needed help. But to be helped, we must tune in to hear His messages. I had not been tuning in. However, that day my friend delivered the message I needed, loud and clear. I recognized the change that was necessary. I did go back to that school the next day and everyday for three years. Things did not change over night, but daily I determined to see a better picture of God’s children and to think of the students that way. Each semester my love and appreciation for them grew. My classroom became peaceful and certainly more enjoyable. We began to have fun working together.By the time I left, I loved my work and the students. We connected. Same students, but my way of seeing them was completely different. Cooperation and friendship had developed in my classroom by taking roll according to God’s view! Shellie Evans is a former teacher and school counselor living in Abilene, Texas.