Friday, June 15, 2012

Impacting Lives

"How many people impacted my life?" my 12 years old son questioned.  All of a sudden, I felt overwhelmed thinking one by one who impacted my life.  As I get older, the number of these tremendous people grows big accordingly.  Humbly, as a teacher, there are countless opportunities to feel appreciation.  The last day of school is the one of these moments.  At the every end of year, I wish their best when I dismiss class, and I reflect on myself at the same time.  "Did I impact their lives this year?"

Needless to say, family structure has dramatically changed a last few decades.  That fact impacts students' lives and teachers' as well.  Although teachers do their best to deliver their compassion and best advise at school, sadly, it is difficult for some kids to accept them as a positive opportunities.  At the same time, it is challenging to identify who are really impacted by what teachers say or do.   The best teaching practice often emphasizes "the impact on student's learning".  What we are doing must be intentional and kids have to show the evidence accordingly.  The data doesn't lie, that is true. It is also true that you can see the data you want to see when you have a trustful relationship with them.  The trust which students and I build really impact on "my" life.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure when I am building trust or what words or actions impacted them to make them want to connect with me. 

Thinking back, when I finally and truly realized that I couldn't change anyone's behavior unless they want to change (Read my previous blog, Accept Who They Are http://test-mathlessonplans.blogspot.com/2012/05/accept-who-they-are.html), my approach slightly shifted to the different direction.  In Love and Logic (loveandlogic.com), one of the suggested liners is "I respect you too much to argue."  Whenever I say, "I respect you no matter what you do or say, but I will respect you more if you choice is a wise one," I really feel that way.  Since then, the students' poor behavior didn't bother me as much as before.  Don't get me wrong, I am not a Saint.  I am still frustrated time to time.  But interestingly, the words from my heart through my mouth transform my brain work differently.  I feel calmer than before.  I feel my smiles more often.

I have never imagined that I could make a connection with this one student, who is a typical attention seeker (mostly in the negative way, of course) no matter how hard I worked even with my positive attitude.  Surprisingly, he was the very first one to give me a hug, a special tight and long one.   I scratched his back and said, "You made it this year.  You showed you could do it!"  He scratched back on mine and whispered, "I will miss you for this summer." 

Another student handed me the unexpected invitation.  After the show, he dashed directly to my seat, and gave me a strong hug.  I was thinking, "What did I do?"   Whether if I am impacting their lives or not, at least, I am so honored to be a part of these boys' lives, in the positive way.  They chose to make a connection with me.  That, importantly, impacts my life.