Have you ever had that difficult student? That one who is constantly on your radar? You cannot let him/her out of your sight for a second because when you do, everything falls apart. Maybe it’s been a whole classroom that has been difficult.
Either way, I know you know exactly what I am talking about. I have talked with teachers all over my area here in Michigan and have found that everyone has those students. Everyone is struggling and no one knows what to do.
Through a divinely guided path, I came across Conscious Discipline. So far, I have read 100 pages of Dr. Becky Bailey’s book. It may not seem like a lot but it has given me so much to think about and also confirmed so much of what I believe as an educator. However, there is only one point I want to share with you today and that is the concept of “Quit Taking it Personally.”
As educators, I believe, most are very critical on themselves. They have students in their classrooms that have behavior issues and they take it personally. Like it is their fault for the problems of the student (or students). However, that just isn’t always the case. Our students come to us with 5 to 17 years of other experiences. 5 to 17 years of other people guiding them in their life. Those past experiences have helped shape them into who they are when they walk into your room.
I’ve been that teacher. I have wanted to “fix” things for my students. I would try anything to help them be different. I would research for hours on end, fight their case to my administration and adjust anything I needed to in my classroom to help them. But unfortunately, it just was not enough. I took it all personally like I couldn’t do my job because I was not seeing any changes.
What I know now, which I chose to ignore before, is my job is to provide the best education for them in any way I can. The rest - it’s up to them. Will I still fight for them? Yes. Will I still adjust everything I can? Yes. That is my job. My job is too create an environment where they can learn and grow. If they do not grow today, I hope that they will one day. Because in reality, have you ever met someone who changed over night? Sometimes it takes people years to change, not just a few months.
So recently, my focus has been to not take it personally. It’s not about me. I’m doing everything in my power to help them.
To remind myself of to not take it personally, I created a poster. I tried to find Dr. Becky Bailey’s but was unsuccessful. So I made my own. All credit goes to her in the wording, all I did was typed it, printed it and hung it in my room.
My hope is that you find the statement to be as powerful as I did. Hang it in your classroom as a reminder that it’s not about you. Quit taking it personally. Your job is to model to them the kind of person they can be and make a difference in lives – in any way that you can.