Saturday, June 2, 2012


This happened a while ago, but I want to share it anyway. I'm not sure if I should start at the beginning or back track.

Remember this picture?

Or this one? (Probably not, the laughing has started.)

I took them right before we went out to see Lucy get sheared. I wanted the picture so that I could send a thank you to the kind folks who made and gave the goals to our school. As this picture was ending the class erupted into a huge fit of uncontrolable laughing and pointing and more pictures was completely out of the question.

Very soon our wonderful social worker, Mrs. Ybarra, came by and said "I was just trying to get them to smile more." I may have glared at her. This was not in my plan. I tend to not like it when things don't go as I plan. She apologized, and I might have said nothing. I marched the kids off to the barn.

The rest of the day I felt terrible. I should not have reacted that way. Mrs. Ybarra is at our school only MWF, so I had another whole day to wait until I could apologize for being disrespectful.

Sidenote: My students were well accustomed to me apologizing, either individually or as a whole class, I find that about once a week I have to tell them I am sorry for something I have done (not being nice when things don't go my way). My principal knows about this, she is not worried, she likes it that I can model how to apologize. I wish I wouldn't have to model it quite so often.

Continuing on with the current story... The next time Mrs. Ybarra was at school we had a wonderful momment. We both could not apologize enough to the other one. We may have shed some tears. I think there was a hug. In the end our friendship was strengthen by this very real interaction.

Fast forward 2 weeks. My class had been awful with the "girl drama." Mrs. Ybarra had spent a load of time with groups and individuals working on how to be friends, etc. But it was not getting better. As a last ditch effort she offered to come into my room and and have a mix of love and logic, conscious discipline and come to Jesus "chat" with them all. I stayed because that is the only way to know how the chat went and how to be a facilitator for them in the future.

She did some talking. They did some talking. And somehow the interaction at the soccer goal came up. She shared how she felt. I shared how I felt. We got teary again. The lesson they could have taken away was that sometimes you have to give the other person some space before you can apologize (Mrs. Ybarra knew right away that I was upset--I guess I really did glare at her). Maybe they understood one more way to be a friend. More talking. "Chat" over.

Fast forward another week. Two students were playing at recess. One hurt anothers' feelings. Hurt one runs away. The hurter notices right away his mistake and truly is remorseful and wants to apologize (a bit of a breakthrough for this one!). The hurter chases the hurtee, who continues to run away. Soon the hurter is talking with Mrs. Ybarra and trying to figure out how to make this situation better. She gently prods him to remember how she needed to give me some space before she could apologize to me (and I needed space to realize I also needed to apologize). His face shines with recognition and says "OH, maybe I need to give her some space, and apologize later." They made a plan for him to talk to her later.

Before school ended the two students had made amends.

Last week I was sharing this story with my BFF and she almost started crying. I could not figure out what the big deal was, but she thinks the connections made with adults and students was incredible. When I look at this from her perspective I can see it.

Being a classroom teacher is hard work. So often I am "in the thick of it" and do not see the bigger picture. Thanks BFF for helping me to recognize this as the cool situation that it is.
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