Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Good Teacher of Youth

We have been called to be merciful, to be filled with authenticity-- breathing deeply and slowly, and walking leisurely. It is only in this way that essentials are understood, blessings are gratefully accepted, and the painful is seen, heard and felt as painful. The lifestyle of our adults--superficiality and speed--is now influencing the student community and the teachers. Living life honestly and with respect is not easy. Without this commitment, our preciousness is disregarded, pain is overlooked, and we are not conscious of how we are being bombarded with violent words and actions.

A religious teaching sister, writing in a bulletin from an  institute in Seoul, Korea, explains that  as a teacher this is the reality she lives in. She sees the disappearance of the respect and concern we should have for each other. She would like to know why we are treating each other so badly.

At work, teaching daily, she sees big and small incidents among the young that exemplifies what she is trying to convey. One example she cites: "Sister, Sister! There is big trouble on the third floor, in front of the toilets. They are fighting and damning each other, hurry to the spot. Their faces are bloated and red; they will have to go to the hospital."

She went in haste to the spot, and found that the first round of fighting was finished. The fighting had been motivated, she said, by an all-encompassing  anger that could be seen in their eyes and in their body movements; they were ready to kill each other. Another example: "Our daughter was abused, blamed and threatened," she was told by her troubled parents, leaving their daughter depressed and fearful, and she soon had to withdraw from school. "The school has to take responsibility for such incidents," she said. "All the school authorities have been notified and it is now up to them to punish the students responsible."She mentioned a third example: There was a fire on the fourth floor of the school, smoke coming out of the window. A student, who had been breaking the school rules against smoking, threw a cigarette butt into a wooden basket that caught fire.

Sister went on to reflect on her position as a Christian and as a teacher who wishes to live her mission in life responsibly. But with the continual violence, depression, anger, weakness, helplessness, frustration and despair that often surrounds her, she has to acknowledge her limitations and frustrations. However, to use this helplessness as an excuse for attempting to deal only with an immediate and superficial  response to any crisis, she admits, is not going to be of great long term help to the students. It has to be a daily effort, a waiting hope, accompanied by a warm demeanor. Educators, she strongly believes,have to be one with the students who are hurting and have lost hope. To be with them in their grief and despair, to cry and laugh with them, and to be able to give them life and love.

She ends by saying that there are many young people, whether known or unknown to us, who are in need of our care and  love. As Jesus walked with us to give us life, we, also, as teachers, she hopes, in imitating him as an educator, will benefit from his example.

No comments:

Post a Comment