Rebuilding Young Minds with Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings, revered Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I am an elementary schoolteacher. Since attaining the Fa in 1998, I have worked hard and taken great care to teach according to Dafa's requirements. As a result, I have received compliments both from my colleagues and from my students' parents. I spent three years transforming a "failing class" into one of the best, and turning more than 80 "failing students" into little angels that everyone loved. The changes in these kids had a tremendous impact as many parents learned of the goodness of Dafa. My magic tool was Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
Taking on a Failing Class
One day before the fall semester began, the principal asked me to teach Chinese to Class 1 of the fourth grade. This was a "double failing" class--failing in academics as well as discipline. The students' parents had had the teacher fired by threatening to transfer their children to another school if the teacher were not replaced. The principal looked very troubled, and I figured that it might be because no one else wanted to take this class. I thought to myself that I was a Dafa practitioner and that Master had always told us to think of others first and to find joy in hardship. Master told us in Zhuan Falun,
"Since learning Falun Dafa, these employees come to work early and go home late. They do diligent and conscientious work, they're never picky no matter what work their supervisors assign them, and they've also stopped fighting to benefit themselves. Once they started to act this way the morale of the whole factory went up. And the factory's financial returns have even improved."
I realized that I should not be picky in my work assignment and that I should have consideration for both the school and the parents. I agreed right away and asked the principal how long I would be their Chinese teacher. He replied, "How about one semester?" and waited to see my reaction. I said, "Let me be their teacher until they graduate. If we change teachers again after only one semester, it would not be good for the kids, and their parents might have more complaints. I, too, am a parent and want my child to have a good teacher, so I'll try my best to teach them." The principal was extremely happy and relieved. But when my colleagues heard this, they all thought that I was being foolish.
Feeling Helpless When Nothing Worked
The math teacher was close to retirement. She had a strong sense of responsibility and had been a teacher all her life. She was very dissatisfied with the class that I had just taken, feeling that they had ruined her reputation. But she had agreed to stay on after she learned that I would be their Chinese teacher. A practice in our school is that the math teacher is the head teacher of a class. But considering her age and health, I volunteered to be the head teacher and asked her to be my consultant.
I had no idea what kind of class I had taken on. The classroom looked like the inside of a dumpster, and the floor was sticky with huge soybean milk stains. Of the 83 students, more than 70 had never done any homework, read the textbooks, or answered questions from the teachers. They had no manners. Over a dozen of them would steal things. The stationery I brought to class would disappear from under my nose. They even stole the wallet of the former head teacher. They acted as a team, with clear roles and responsibilities. They had quite a bad reputation in our school. This was the first time I had encountered students like this in my ten-plus years of teaching. I began to regret my decision, thinking, "What can I do? My life would be so much easier if I had not taken on this class!" But then I felt sorry for these kids. If they were not led to the right path, their lives would be ruined.
The first time I collected homework, I got only a few sheets of paper. I asked those who did not turn in their homework to stand up, and right away most of the students were on their feet, all with cynical expressions on their faces. They were clearly ready to pick a fight with their teacher. I took them to the playground and told them to run as a punishment. They were all laughing. The principal stopped me and said, "Don't let them run more than five laps. If any of the kids faint, you'll be in trouble." Instantly tears flowed down my cheeks. I turned around, faced the wall, and told myself, "My heart should not be moved!" I reminded myself that I was a Dafa disciple and that Dafa could save them. I calmed down, told the kids to stop running, and began to tell them the ancient story of "Standing Timber Wins Others' Trust." I told the kids that we should keep our commitments and finish our homework on time every day. When they heard this, they became quiet.
Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance Is the Real Magic Tool
Master has told us,
"I often say that if all a person wants is the well-being of others and if this is without the slightest personal motivation or personal understanding, what he says will move the listener to tears. I have not only taught you Dafa, but have also left you my demeanor. While working, your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person's heart, whereas commands never could! If others are not convinced deep down inside but only superficially comply, they will still conduct themselves according to their own will when no one is around to see them" ("Clearheadedness" from Essentials for Further Advancement).
I decided to use my tone of voice and kindheartedness to rectify these kids' hearts.
I collected many stories from the Pureinsight website, categorized them, and wrote a brief outline of each story in a notebook. I categorized the stories by theme, such as integrity, kindness, forbearance, cause and effect, honesty, sincerity, avoiding jealousy, stories of deities, scientific discoveries, and prehistoric civilization. I would read my notebook regularly, so when the students ran into trouble, I could teach them by telling them a story and not hurt their self-respect. The kids liked what they heard from me and also understood what they should do right. When they went home, they would also tell their parents.
If the kids violated the school rules, I tried my best to put myself in their shoes, listen to them, and sincerely look inward. Then I would work with the kids to find an appropriate remedy. For example, if a child did not finish his homework, sometimes it was because he didn't understand what was taught, sometimes it was because he had too much homework and didn't have enough time to finish it all, sometimes it was because he did not have a good foundation and had lost his confidence, and sometimes it was because playing interfered with his studies. I would find out the real reason and then guide them accordingly. In the meantime, I would tell the kids why they needed to do homework and how to study effectively. I always encouraged them.
I became a good friend to these kids, and they would share their secrets with me. Every day after school, these kids were reluctant to go home because they wanted to stay with me. My class became one of the best. My colleagues all said that I had "miraculous power."
Below are several true stories of things that happened in my class.
1. First Composition Class
My students' biggest headache was writing compositions. There were three reasons for this problem: 1) they were too afraid to write, 2) they didn't know how to write, and 3) the cultural influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) resulted in assigned topics that were untruthful, exaggerated, and empty, so the kids had no idea where to start. When I first started with the class, the students would write three sentences at most and used no punctuation. But one day during class, I heard chirping and found a baby dove hidden in a student's desk. I was afraid that it might die. I also knew that in mainland China today, those who were poisoned by atheism would not know that killing created karma.
I put the baby dove on a piece of cardboard and asked the kids to have a good look. I asked them to touch its soft feathers and small red feet. They all liked the baby dove, but it looked at them with horrified eyes and chirped desperately. I asked the kids to listen quietly to the bird's chirping and think about what it might be saying. Some of the kids said, "He's calling for his mom because he is scared." Others said, "He wants to go home." They began to feel sorry for the baby dove. I asked them, "Where did he come from?" The kids told me that they had bought it from a vendor for 50 cents, as many other kids did. "Where will he go next?" I asked them again. The kids said that he would die after a few days. So I said to the class, "In other words, we all like this baby dove, but we will kill it." I wrote on the blackboard, "50 cents = one life." How could one life be so worthless? This made a deep impression on all the kids. Many of them stopped buying small animals from the vendors and accused them of doing "anything for a profit."
I asked the kids to write in their composition books what they had seen, heard, and felt and to use their own titles. They were the best and the quickest compositions so far. The kids understood that everything has a life and that we should cherish them and live in harmony with nature. When we went on the spring tour, the kids in my class never picked any flowers and cleaned up after themselves without being asked. It was very touching.
2. Two Sausages
When the children had reached the sixth grade and we went on our spring tour, the school canteen gave mistakenly gave the class two extra sausages for breakfast. No one took them.
I held out the two sausages and asked, "Who wants to eat them?" The kids shook their heads, smiling. Some of them said, "Teacher, you eat them!"
Tears came to my eyes. I said to them, "These two sausages are the best award for me. They are proof that I'm the best teacher. They are also the best award for you as you're the most honest students!"
Many of the kids had tears in their eyes as well. Such things would never have happened in the class before I took over. Such things would not happen in other classes either.
Two years ago when I had taken over this class, I had twelve students who would steal things. On the second day of class, some kids' things were stolen. I told the class the stories "The Wife of Le Yangzi," "Confucius Refuses to Drink from the Robber's Spring," "The Manner of Giving Is Worth More Than the Gift," and "Zihan's Treasure Is Not Greedy." I used the divinely-bestowed culture to teach the kids basic human values.
When I described the millennium when "no one pockets anything found on the road, and there's no need to close doors at night" during the "Reign of Zhenguan" to the kids, they were full of longing. They constantly asked, "Teacher, when can we sleep with our doors wide open? We have several doors, but the thief still managed to break in." I encouraged them by saying that when we would all cherish virtue and do good deeds, the millennium would be here.
I never accepted any gift from the parents. I would tell them openly that I was a Dafa disciple and could not accept their gifts. I also turned down parents' invitations to dinner and never asked them to do anything for me. Sometimes when I could not return a gift, I would figure out its market value and buy books for the kids. I would then tell the kids that these books were "donated" by someone's parents to our little library. After a while, the parents realized this, and no one would try to give me gifts anymore. But they would also not worry that I would neglect their kids might be neglected. All the parents said that this time their kids had finally met a good teacher.
Eventually the students returned the two extra sausages to the school canteen.
Falun Dafa Is Good
The kids soon found out that I was a Dafa practitioner because I was "different" from other teachers. I paid even more attention to my own conduct. Every morning we had reading sessions, and the students would take turns sharing good articles. Many times they would read the Minghui Weekly and other truth-clarifying materials during the session because they felt that those articles were very good. Between classes they would also share their thoughts. Some kids would openly carry Dafa-related materials and were proud if they had relatives who practiced Dafa.
One of the kids once told me, "Teacher, I have the mumps." I said to her, "Ask your mom and dad to take you to the doctor." She said, "No one cares about me. Can I say, 'Falun Dafa is good?'" I replied, "Of course!" Her enlightenment quality was better than mine! During the physical education class, she sat by the wall and said "Falun Dafa is good" the whole time. The swelling in her face disappeared, and she was no longer in pain.
During a flag-raising ceremony, two of my students, Xiaofang and Sisi, were honored as merit students and needed to go up to the rostrum to accept their award. When the deputy principal saw that many students were not wearing the red scarfs of the CCP, he was upset and said that, without the red scarf, a student could not accept the award. Many of the students in my class did not wear the red scarf. Xiaofang and Sisi wanted to accept their awardxs but were afraid. They asked me what to do. I quietly told them, "You can silently recite 'Falun Dafa is good' and walk up to the rostrum to accept the award. The deputy principal won't realize that you are not wearing a red scarf." Indeed they had no trouble receiving their awards and thought it was quite miraculous.
After the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party was published, I was anxious to ask the kids to quit the Young Pioneers, an affiliate of the CCP. But I was also afraid of the persecution. For several days I did not have enough courage to speak up. But one day as I was escorting the students home, Xiaojing, one of my students, suddenly asked me, "Teacher, have you read the Nine Commentaries?" I was very surprised and asked her, "Have you?" She said that she could not quite understand the book, but her godmother insisted that she quit the Young Pioneers to avoid misfortune, so she did. She also convinced Wenwen, another student in my class, to quit as well.
I felt ashamed. I loved my students. My own daughter had quit the Young Pioneers long ago, but I dared not tell my students. Wasn't that being selfish and trying to protect myself? So I decided to tell my students right away. I told them that heaven would annihilate the CCP, so we needed to quit the CCP and its affiliates to protect ourselves. I also apologized to them that, out of fear of being persecuted, I had failed to tell them sooner. My students quickly used aliases to quit. In the end, one of my students, Zhenzhen, said, "No one should say anything outside of this room, not even to our parents. Whoever leaks this and reveals Teacher's name will not be forgiven." I had a dream that night. In the dream I was leading a group of kids to emerge from underground on a narrow ladder.
During that time, I increased the frequency of sending forth righteous thoughts. The majority of my class had quit the Young Pioneers. After they went on to middle school, many of them refused to join the Communist Youth League.
Protected by My Students
One weekend, a fellow practitioner, who was also a teacher, came to tell me that the Bureau of Education had issued a document announcing that a teacher had been sent to forced labor for talking about Falun Gong and asking students to quit the CCP and its affiliates. The document directed each school to do a thorough investigation. This was at the same time when organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in Sujiatun was first made public. It was obvious that the evil forces were scared.
During Monday's class meeting, I told the students about the organ harvesting. They were shocked and very angry. I also told them that a teacher was persecuted for talking about Falun Gong, and I shared with the kids some of the tricks commonly used by the 610 Office and the Domestic Security agents. Some kids called them villains.
The next day, as soon as I stepped into the classroom, my students circled me and asked, "Teacher, are you a fortuneteller? Yesterday the deputy principal and the dean came to talk to us and wanted to check our Chinese class notebooks." I smiled and asked, "What did you tell them?" Sisi said, "The deputy principal asked what you taught in class. I said, 'Isn't it the Chinese teacher's job to teach Chinese? Teacher also teaches us discipline as well as personal hygiene since she is our head teacher.'" Feixiong, another student of mine, said, "I told them that Teacher has taught us according to the textbooks." They could not find anything about Dafa in the students' notebooks, since I usually wrote poems from Hong Yin on the blackboard for my students to read and asked them to not write it down.
A Thank You Letter
Due to the big improvement in my class, the school decided to give me a special award. I wrote a thank you letter to the principal. I wrote in the letter, "Thank you, Principal, for your trust and for giving me this rare opportunity and great responsibility. You have supported me as you always have during the past seven years while the government has launched its brutal persecution of Falun Gong. Your justice and kindness will bring good fortune to you and your family. I also want to thank our Master, who taught me Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, which is the magic tool I use to teach my class."
Another school once hosted an evil photo exhibit slandering Falun Gong. I used the opportunity to clarify the truth about Falun Gong to the principal. Before I could finish, the principal said, "How can they do this? This will ruin the kids!"
There are many stories about my class. One of my students' compositions was posted on the Minghui/Clearwisdom website. I believe that these kids will eventually attain the Fa and become practitioners.
Thank you, Master!
Thank you, my fellow practitioners!
Please kindly point out anything inappropriate!