If you have read through my blog at all you know how cool I think teaching is. I mean, I get to spend a lot of time with 22 really interesting people for five days a week. We learn from each other and we teach each other. There is a lot to teach as a second grade teacher. And believe me, a lot to learn. It’s not just facts that we’re learning either. A lot of what we do is figure out how to get along with other people, how to make ourselves better.
This week I got a note from a concerned parent. It was a sad note about how some of the kids in our class were calling her daughter names. The names hurt. I was surprised. I thought we knew better. When school started that day, I asked the three of them to come out into the hall with me.
I didn’t so much ask them what happened as I told them that I was disappointed and sad about what they had done. I told them that name-calling can sometimes hurt longer than physical pain. Sometimes it hurts a lot longer. I asked that they write a note to their folks and explain the situation.
Now, understand that I love these kids. I came at this conversation as a friend who cares about them not an angry tyrant who is bent on stamping out name-calling. When I asked if they had anything to say, one little guy said that he was, “just really, really sorry,” and, “it won’t happen again.” He looked me right in the eye and said, “Sorry, Mr. O.” All of them went down to her classroom and apologized and, I think, some asked her for forgiveness.
The next day I spoke to the little boy’s mom who said that he was going to come in and change out the rabbit cage. This was a way to make up for the time and energy I put into sorting this out and getting things straight. It would be a way of giving back some of that time as well as a way of him showing that he is really sorry. Sure enough, this morning they were there bright and early and cleaned out that rabbit’s cage, not an altogether pleasant task.
Another one of the name-callers had just published this pretty, peaceful little poem in class. I had asked her to tape her poetry up on the board and she read it to us. Afterward, as is our custom when we publish something original in the classroom, the hands shot up with many appreciations about her word choice and the peaceful feelings the poem left us with. I took her piece and placed it in the pile of papers to file in the kids writing folders.
Later in the day she asked where it was. When I told her she asked if she could copy it over. “Sure,” I said. “Do you want a copy to take home?” No, she wanted to give it to the little girl she made fun of to make up to her. Of course I gave it to her and she went right to that little one’s classroom to deliver her peace offering.
Love in the air
All through the night
Kindness, faith, trust.
Kindness is something in your heart
It is love all through the day.
Love is peace.
Friends and kindness is something
We’ll never forget.
Sometimes I am amazed – no – often I am amazed at the wonderful insight and wisdom of children. I mean, how many adults will look into each other’s eyes and sincerely apologize when they realize they made a mistake?
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we adults could say we’re sorry and mean it? Wouldn’t it be great if when made mistakes we could admit it and ask for forgiveness?