I teach middle school, so temptation to be frustrated is par for the course. However, most times I manage to think the evil thoughts I have toward certain students, or a whole class in general. If I remember to not take things personally, not let a kid get to me, not let my emotions get in the way of discipline, things go better. The kids realize that I am an adult who cannot be sucked into their angsty moods. They realize I do what I say I will do, and that this makes for a safer classroom. The issue melts away and we go on with our lesson. But today I failed at all of that.
I was a jerk.
I got really frustrated at my last class. I finally lost it and growled "You guys are really annoying me right now." A kid who was more or less the target of that comment looked at me with shock. It's not that I never preach at them. Or get angry at their immaturity. But I haven't yet this year said something like that. Like as a human I just didn't want to be around them anymore. And although I am currently taking antibiotics because I have some sort of bacterial infection which is making swallowing soup feel like swallowing razors, I know that wasn't ok. I feel like a jerk. Like I lost a lot of ground. Because my biggest rule is "Respect all nouns." I did not respect them. I let minor things like a sore throat and end of semester stress undo four months of careful discipline and morale-building. I don't want to be their favourite teacher, but I do want to be a role model. I want to be patient and kind and what I always preach at them to be.
My consolation is that recently I prayed for humility. The past week has been answer after answer to that prayer. And that my best friend, who now has a baby and a two-year-old, just told me the other day that sometimes her kids bug her so much she has to try really hard not to be mean to them. So apparently, even your own flesh and blood make you feel like that. I admired her courage to admit that, because I haven't heard many moms admit that. It is hard to admit that I can be a really unloving, selfish person and that most days I just cover it up. Why am I surprised? My pastor keeps saying "your sin is so much worse than you could ever imagine, but you are so much more loved than you could ever dream." I shouldn't be surprised at my own sin by now, but I am. Because I'd like to think I am not that bad of a person. But I am. And even at this moment, I still wish about three of my really annoying kids would just not come back after Christmas. God, give me grace to love them. I have no love for them. I am done. There are 7 days left this semester, and I am worn out. And I still have to grade a stack of papers and write 3 unit plans before the 20th. I have no strength. Thank you for the reminder of my weakness and please help me to pray (internally, since pray is not allowed in schools) instead of losing it tomorrow.