Something Beautiful

Posted: May 17, 2010 in Teaching
Tags: , , , ,

Super-Sweet Teacher Colleague: I met “Joe’s” little brother yesterday at Camp [Insert Name of Middle School].  He’s so excited to be coming here next year!

Me: Oh yeah?  Does he look like “Joe”?

Super-Sweet Teacher Colleague: (shaking her head) Not really.  A little bit, but he doesn’t have the same beautiful eyes!  By the way, we just love “Joe” in our department!  What an awesome kid!

The conversation continued, and then we changed the subject.  I left feeling about two inches tall.  I do not find anything about Joe to be “beautiful.”  I do not “love” him.  In fact, he drives me up a freaking wall.  I already know they’re going to put him back in my classroom for the third year in a row, and frankly, I’m not happy.  It’s exhausting.  He soaks up so much of my time and energy that I am not the teacher I could be/need to be for the rest of the class.

Is he a bad kid?  Not really.  He had some emotional problems last year that caused some confrontations, but he’s matured a good bit.  We got him the help he needed, from the aforementioned department, and his behavior has gotten even better.

But he’s so needy.  I get that he has issues.  I get that it’s not his fault.  I get it.  But, I am not “that” kind of teacher.  Everyone always says you have to be a certain kind of person to work with that particular population.  Super-Sweet Teacher Colleague is that kind of person.  She’s amazing.  A day in the life of Super-Sweet Teacher Colleague would leave me in tears and would probably result in the termination of my employment one way or the other.  I am light-years away from being “that” kind of person.  This is precisely why I didn’t choose her line of work.

But Joe is still in my class.  While he qualifies to be in the aforementioned department, and spends half of the day there, he also qualifies to be in another special population: the one I teach.  It’s an equally needy population, but for different reasons.  So, here I am every day with a classroom full of needy kids, and there’s Joe.  Double-needy, persistent Joe.  Completely honest ugliness: I want him out.  Gone.  With Super-Sweet Teacher Colleague all day.

She uses words like “beautiful” and “love” when she talks about him.

I can’t get past the hygiene issues and the incessant hand-raising.

What a disgusting, horrible person I am.
Christian?  Evidently not very.

My prayer the next morning:

Show me something beautiful in all my kids today.  Especially Joe.


  1. tricia says:

    Praying that God will give you grace and wisdom to deal with Joe. Praying that you will also see not only something beautiful, but that you will see him through God’s eyes. Praying that you will find the way to get through to Joe. Thank you for all you do teaching the needy children. You are a blessing. 🙂

  2. macayla says:

    Oh, my dear friend, the depth of compassion I feel for you… Kids like Joe are so difficult for people like us. A dozen Joes I worked with came to mind as I read, and I will tell you my secret: I chose to look at these needy, smelly, gross boys as the very ones Jesus called to Himself. Think about it. The disciples shooed away the children. Couldn’t they have been stinky, needy Joes and the disciples didn’t want their ick around the Lord? When I saw them that way, it was easier, day by day, to see them as wanted by Jesus despite my rejection of them.
    I never did reach the place I should have been with them, but Abba blessed the little shifts of heart I had because of my obedience.

    He will help you. I promise.

  3. sheri says:

    You are a REAL “Christian.”

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