You know the teacher: the one who oozes love and care for kids; the one who seems like she was born to be a teacher. Her expectations are as high and as big as her love is and kids excel under her teaching, and thrive in her presence. If you are lucky, you had at least one teacher like this and you have been (or would be) happy to run into her years after you were in her class.
I met one of these super teachers at the end of a Breaking Down the Walls session. I was standing aside, watching the kids encourage and validate each other and I noticed a teacher also watching. She was smiling and had one of those “this has been a great day for me” looks in her eyes.
I said to her, “What is in your heart right now—flowing up and over?” She looked at me and quietly said, “I was thinking that I am thankful for my parents.” She continued, “I am so glad my parents gave me coping skills. I was reminded again today that these kids go through so many challenges. Sometimes I get too worried about teaching them English…”
“I need to find the balance between what I teach and what they are dealing with on a day to day basis.”
“I am thankful my parents gave me the ability to cope with challenges that were going to hit me along the way. That is what some of these kids don’t have—coping skills. Some of them have no idea what to do when hardships hit them. As I listened to them today, I heard some of them describe how they deal with hunger, homelessness, and addictions. A few of them have a set of skills to deal with the drama of life, but most of them just want to give up and let someone else take care of them. That is not going to happen.”
Then the story came. She turned and looked me in the eye and said, “My dad had a sex change operation when I was 21 and wow, that was a tough one! All three of us kids made it through because our parents had taught us how to cope, how to deal with the challenges that come our way, and to know that we are ready for whatever each day brings.“
Everyone has a story…everyone needs coping skills.