Is patience in the classroom an oxymoron? On the surface, perhaps, but in reality, it is a necessity. How can learning take place without patience? To establish patience in the classroom, we must begin with ourselves. How can you bring that patience to the classroom? Every fruit of the Spirit is a gift to the classroom, but patience is unique. Even God can lose His patience. I heard a sermon about that recently and thought that it would be impossible for God to lose His patience, but He did with Israel several times. So if you have ever lost your patience in the classroom, join the club. Our purpose is to overcome the loss of patience with the presence of God with us as we go about our charge as teacher.
With first things first, pray for patience. Be specific. Ask God to help you with that particular child that knows how to push all those buttons. Ask for intervention when you are unable. Sometimes “we have not because we ask not.” Ask! Next, practice. Be purposeful about addressing those things that wear your patience down and then practice having a different reaction. For instance, if the way the students enter your classroom in unruly and unorganized, instead of getting heated and getting on them for being so noisy, laugh about it. Add a little humor and then practice, practice, practice until they please you and then praise them. Too often, the management chaos in our classrooms is our fault for not setting routines and expectations and then keeping up with them. When things become too familiar, we get sloppy (the students and us!) Change it up. If a routine is not effective any more, make a new one and practice, practice, practice. Going home exhausted by a chaotic day does no one any good. Bring patience to your classroom with practiced and purposed management.
What about the student who makes the little hairs on your neck stand up when they enter the room? We’ve all had them, but the difference between being stressed and being patient is how it is handled. When “that” student begins to move your patience meter down, pray immediately for wisdom and guard your mouth. Be especially careful, not to say what is in your head and heart at the moment. He/she is an image bearer, don’t forget. Next, begin targeted prayer for the child. Sit in their desk before school starts and pray for his/her family and home life. Ask for help with communication with the parents before you call home. Ask for private time with the student to discuss goals for success in your particular class setting. Pray for patience. There is no easy method for solving the stress of having students who are disrespectful or unruly, but praying for them changes the situation and us.
You know you have patience in the classroom, when you want to be there, when your students feel safe and learning is happening. May God bless you and your students in this upcoming school year with patience for each other. Grace and peace to all.
Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.