Basing Behavior on Compassion Rather Than Just Reasoning
(Minghui.org) I'm an elementary school teacher. I've been transferred to different schools nearly every year. Usually, I 'm good at adjusting to my new job each time, but I experienced difficulty when transferred to a country school as a substitute teacher. At first I didn't control my temper well, even though I've cultivated Falun Dafa for many years. Controlling my temper has always been an issue for me. I cooperated with others superficially, but they were unaware of how I really felt and the level of my xinxing. I knew in my heart that I was still a long way from the requirements of the Fa.
A Special Xinxing Test
I teach mainly level five and six classes. It is recognized that higher level students are tougher to teach, and this was especially so for me because of my bad temper. I spoke harshly to the students whose behavior didn't meet the standard, rather than speaking to them with compassion. I was responsible for so many classes, and thus so many students, that I frequently lost my patience. Thus, a negative learning environment emerged. Students had negative feelings about me and called me names behind my back. The classroom was chaotic and eventually I didn't want to go to work.
Some students were so disruptive in class that I couldn't continue my lesson. I didn't look inside myself, but complained to their adviser. After the advisor spoke to the students, they initially controlled themselves a bit better, but soon they began misbehaving again. They purposely called my nickname when they passed my office and then ran away. I gradually lost my confidence as a teacher.
I finally caught the classmate who was calling me names. He was from the class that I had complained about before, and I decided to report him to the student adviser again. And went to her office around lunchtime. The advisor said, “Just what is it that you expect me to do about this situation?” I felt quite disappointed with her response, but I was already there and so many students were watching me. After submitting my complaint, the student adviser didn't agree with me. I was so upset and felt that I had lost face. One teacher disagreeing with another in front of so many students! I even didn't have lunch that day. I later went to my office quite upset and locked my door. I couldn't cry, but instead attempted to look inside myself for the reasons this may be happening.
I remembered that one of the practitioners at my local practice site had pointed out my weakness to me. I was able to take the criticism at the time, since I felt I wasn't losing face. I even felt great, since I received the practitioner's comment without any emotional response. I felt that I had met Teacher's requirement, but I really didn't look inside and find the root cause. At that time, I only focused on reason, rather than compassion from my heart toward others.
I then realized my problem and repeatedly wrote,
“...your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person’s heart” (“Clearheadedness,” from Essentials for Further Advancement)
I added a “thank you, Teacher” to my writing. I knew that I needed to improve my xinxing, but still, it is so difficult to do. The issue at school had already continued for some time. Some students had bad feelings toward me and talked about me behind my back. Gossip spread very fast among students. I knew there must be a cultivation issue behind this situation, but I didn't know what to do. I was struggling until the next day of class.
The Environment Changed After I Changed My Heart
I knew I must not concern myself with saving face and that I should resolve the issue with my students. In class, I honestly discussed with the students ways to teach and test. I listened to their opinions and then asked them to vote on acceptable methods. I promised them that I would follow the way they voted. I found that the animosity between us began to fade.
Sometime later, I ran into that student adviser outside of work. We felt embarrassed, but I decided to get rid of my self-concern and talk to her. I said, “I changed some things in my class. I don't know how the students have responded so far. If you learn anything, would you please let me know?” She felt my pleasant attitude and said, “I don't know how you changed your ways in such a short time! The students no longer feel offended in your class. Please don't be too hard on yourself.” Suddenly, I felt that the issues between us had been eliminated. However, the issue was not completely resolved. The most difficult one was resolved, but there were other things to consider as well. The next morning another advisor told us, “Please deliver the message to every student that it's not legal to criticize a teacher online.” I returned to my office and typed my name to search and found that there was a lot of bad criticism about me online. I became extremely depressed. However, I realized that it must be related to my cultivation. I encouraged myself to look through the entire content, and find the student who wrote the comments. I warned her, with compassion, that I wouldn't report her as long as she deleted what she wrote. I really didn't concern myself with this incident again and treated that student no different than the others. Gradually, the students were no longer against me.
There are around ten classes for grades five and six. I cultivated myself for two or three months and adjusted my thoughts and behavior. However, the grade six class issues were still tough. Some of the girls still resented me and this continued until the end of May. There was a volleyball match with players from other schools, and during class, my students discussed the upcoming match and wanted to watch it rather than remaining in class. I was not supposed to allow them to watch because the graduation exam was approaching. However, I offered them a choice, “Okay, we still have something to do in our class, but I could finish faster, and then we can watch it.” As a result, the class worked very well. When they went to watch the match, it was over and the players were practicing, but my students were still very happy. I found our relationship improving and we were able to talk pleasantly and smile.
One day, there was heavy rain, and many students didn't bring umbrellas and had to wait in the hall for the rain to lessen. I had an umbrella in my bag and could have just left the building without getting wet and go my way. I saw how some students were running in the rain and getting soaked. I went with students, one by one, to take them to the bus stop under my umbrella. I even lent my umbrella to one of the students to use, since I ride a bicycle and only really needed a rain coat. It wasn't much, but from that day on, many problems between me and my students disappeared.
My grade six students graduated in mid-June. Students had their class yearbooks and nearly every student wanted my signature. This would have been impossible just three months prior. This time I had looked inside and sincerely changed myself to cultivate diligently. The students changed as a result. That tough time actually offered me a chance to cultivate more diligently than at any other time in my nine years of cultivation practice.
Since I was a supply teacher, the end of June was my last day. After a school meeting, I saw that student adviser who had complained about me before. I went to her and said, “Thank you!” She said politely, “It's okay. I didn't do anything, you passed the test.” I replied with a smile, “Yes, I really passed it!” Even though she didn't really understand what I was referring to, I appreciated her comment. Thank you Teacher, for helping me to cultivate myself and change bad fate between those students and me, to good fate. I remembered thoroughly what Master said in “Clearheadedness,” from Essentials for Further Advancement,
“While working, your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person’s heart, whereas commands never could!”
After this experience, I totally changed. I appreciated Teacher's arrangement, because otherwise I wouldn't have realized my big problem. I appreciate Teacher's Fa teachings that advised me to improve myself and change bad fate into good fate.