March marks the beginning of spring and is sometimes associated with new life. A new life is what I was given. During the winter break I was presented a challenge. A student said I would not be able to go one week without yelling. I asked other students what they thought. They all agreed that I wouldn’t last a week. I was disappointed. If ‘yelling’ is how they thought of me, how they would remember me? I asked myself why I was like that. I realized I was like that because I place the standards before the students. I needed to change my attitude.
On the first day of the second semester I decided to stop teaching towards the standards and I started to teach our children. I placed their needs and their feelings first. I stopped yelling and before I do or say anything I think “love” first. I still teach the standards, I still redirect, lecture, and discipline the students but I do so in a loving and kind way.
What a difference this has made. The classroom environment is much more relaxed. The students and I get along way better and I am a totally different teacher. I am grateful towards the students I have. They have taught me a valuable lesson about how far a change in attitude can take a person.
I won more than the bet. I won a new life as a teacher. The eight graders at Molokai Middle are a very special group of students to me. They helped make me a better teacher and I will never forget them.