[Celebrating World Falun Dafa Day] The Cultivation Path of a Teacher
(Minghui.org) I am a high school teacher with more than 20 years of teaching experience.
In present day China, there are great controversies between teachers and students in primary and secondary schools. The teacher-student relationship is very tense. Students are reduced to passive learners while teachers resort to reprimand and corporal punishment to maintain discipline.
It's a vicious cycle, and nobody seems to be able to find a way out.
I was caught up in all that and felt very tired and very helpless.
I once hit a student, who cried inconsolably. My heart was also in tears.
I asked myself over and over: “Is this how a teacher-student relationship should be? This is unconscionable behavior for a teacher. What's the solution? There must be a better way…”
It was during this time of painful soul searching that I had the good fortune to being practicing Falun Dafa.
"In Six Months You Have Taught Our Children So Much”
"As practitioners, you will suddenly come across conflicts. What should you do? You should always maintain a heart of compassion and kindness. Then, when you run into a problem, you will be able to do well because it gives you room to buffer the confrontation. You should always be benevolent and kind to others, and consider others when doing anything. Whenever you encounter a problem, you should first consider whether others can put up with this matter or if it will hurt anyone. In doing so, there will not be any problems. Therefore, in cultivation practice you should follow a higher and higher standard for yourself." (Zhuan Falun)
Master’s words finally untied the knot, gave me wisdom, and showed me the way.
In the past, I taught to ensure that my students passed their exams; I taught for the sake of maintaining my good name when students got high scores.
After I started practicing Falun Dafa, I adjusted my goal: I wanted my students to develop into physically and mentally healthy people.
First, I used the Falun Dafa principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance as the foundation for my teaching and my life. I sought to instill these principles into my students, so I had to share them with them.
I reset my class rules and posted them in big print on the wall:
“Honesty is the quality we live by; Goodness is our nature to cherish; Tolerance is what we hold dear to our hearts.”
I then turned our weekly class meetings. Instead reprimanding and criticizing, it would be a time to reinforce the new class rules with pertinant stories and examples.
“To be responsible to humankind, people have to educate their children. Tell them what is good and what is bad, and they’ll take all of it into their heads. It’s just like a handbag. If the bag is filled with gold, people will say that what you have is gold; if your handbag is filled with dirt, they will say it is dirt. So that’s how people are.” (Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Europe)
Sure enough, the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance had a great impact on the students as reflected in their writings and daily diaries. These principles became their standard to judge the merits of everything.
When conflicts arose, the students learned to stop giving excuses and making up justifications or blaming others as they had always done in the past and now looked at themselves, talked about what went wrong, apologized, and tried to figure out how to improve.
My students became much more sensible. Colleagues wondered why I was always so relaxed. Some parents even said to me, "Teacher, in six months you have taught our children more than they have learned in six years."
The Power of Falun Dafa
One student was very disruptive, constantly getting into fights, and being generally disrespectful. He was often truant and never turned in his homework. He was feared by some, disliked by others, and a headache to all his teachers.
“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 took note of Master’s words and thought about them often. I began to rid myself of any prejudice against this student. I tried to see things from his perspective. I paid him a home visit.
I found out his parents were divorced. His father was unemployed. He lived with his grandparents. Their quality of life was quite substandard.
I had a heart to heart talk with this student. I followed Falun Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and was non-judgmental, sincere, and empathetic.
I also talked to him about what it meant to be a good person and how to do the right things in life.
He listened and sobbed in front of me. From then on, his attitude changed drastically.
I personally experienced and witnessed the power of Falun Dafa.
A More Productive Parent-Teacher Conference
In China, the parent-teacher conference has become a routine forum feared by parents and students alike.
At the conference, teachers will give a laundry list of each student's shortcomings, followed by disparaging criticism. Each parent will sit on pins and needles, worrying and waiting for the bomb to fall, fully aware there is no place to hide their shame.
After I started to practice Falun Dafa, I was determined to change this pointless, destructive pattern.
Throughout the semester, I would take notes on the progress and improvements of each student. During the conference, I shared them with the parents.
If there were specific problem areas, I would set apart a time to talk to the parents privately.
I also took every opportunity to communicate with the parents on what I had learned from my Falun Dafa practice on how to live a more meaningful life.
Parents approved and endorsed my attempts so much so that, at every parent-teacher conference, before I even opened my mouth, the parents would greet me with a hearty round of applause.
“Come Back to Teach Us Again”
There was a time, because of the communist regime’s persecution of Falun Dafa, that I was stripped of my position as a teacher.
However, when a teacher was sick or absent for other reasons, the school would always let me substitute. I did my duties conscientiously and was always willing to accept any assignment.
In almost every class I substituted, the students would invariably say to me, "Teacher, will you come back to teach us again?" or "Please be our class teacher!"
Whenever I was assigned to substitute, as soon as I stepped into the classroom, I would be met with warm applause from the students.
I knew that, behind the applause, was a loud and clear message: Society needs Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, because everyone’s heart is eager for it. When I follow these principles in my every word and deed, my students respond with active learning.
When some students did not do well on a particular test, they would voluntarily stay after class to study, something that had never happened in the past.
There was one student who never skipped my class. Other students told me that my class was the only one he came to. He also passed the final exams on all the subjects I taught him.
His homeroom teacher said to me, “You are able to teach this student and he passed all your subjects? That is incredible!”
As a matter of fact, I knew it was not I with the talent, it was because I put Falun Dafa’s teachings into practice. It was my compassion that touched his heart.
“Your Students Are Actually Very Cute”
In 2003 I returned to my school after being persecuted in a forced labor camp, and my students had already graduated.
Several colleagues told me that, in my absence, the students not only wouldn’t listen to other teachers, they wouldn’t listen to the principal. One time when the principal told them to run, a boy actually laid down on the ground and refused to get up. That made the principal very angry.
When my former students heard I was back, they came to the school to see me. The boy who laid on the ground had grown to be a tall young man. He spent 100 yuan to buy me a large bouquet of lilies.
I said to him, “You shouldn’t have bought such expensive flowers.”
He responded, "Teacher, I should have."
We had a long conversation on his ideas and attitudes about life. I found him to be very calm and rational.
He had taught himself a variety of skills and received several accreditations. He had opened his own company and was doing very well. He had actually recruited some of his classmates to be his employees and paid them each a 3,000-yuan monthly salary.
When I asked him why he laid on the ground instead of running, he told me, "Teacher, the other students in our class and I were not against the teachers or trying to be disrespectful of the principal. We just wanted to tell them that we wouldn’t accept their approach to education."
I did not say anything, but I understood where he was coming from. He and the other students were intentionally and unintentionally using the criteria of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance as the standard to measure things around them.
I later spoke to the principal, whose first words to me were, “Your students are actually very cute.”
I believed the principal also understood where the students were coming from.
When I think about all that now, I know that, if I didn’t practice Falun Dafa, I wouldn’t have been able to change my ways to benefit my students.
"In the Future, You Can Teach My Child"
Before practicing Falun Dafa, I found teaching to be annoying and bothersome, because making lesson plans was so tedious. For each lesson, I had to look up a lot of reference materials, then write down a lesson plan and teaching steps.
Every day is spent in preparation, giving lectures, correcting homework, and resolving students' problems.
I had to work very hard, so I was often very tired and upset, with the result that I would resort to scolding and punishing students, sometimes going so far as using physical force.
After I obtained Dafa, its extraordinary divine power often gave me wisdom. Making lesson plans became easy, since I was able to grasp quickly and clearly the focus of each lesson and share that in the classroom.
I encouraged students to ask questions and work out solutions together. That made teaching easy and learning a lot more fun. Students started to think of issues and develop analytical skills.
They were no longer robotic learners.
I was arrested by officers from the Domestic Security Division in 2002. In order to frame me, they went to my school to conduct an investigation, hoping to obtain "evidence" from my students, colleagues, school leaders, and parents.
During the interrogation, the police admitted that their investigative reports from my school were all positive.
I told the police that all Falun Dafa practitioners who follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance are good people.
The captain of the Domestic Security Division later said to me, "In the future, you can teach my child."
People’s understanding side is their good side. Master says: "Everyone has Buddha-nature…” (Zhuan Falun)
The vast majority of police officers are unfortunate people who are being poisoned and used by the Chinese communist regime to participate in the persecution of Dafa and Dafa practitioners. Their hearts also long for Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.
"I Didn’t Think You Would Accept Such an Arrangement"
When I understood the Dafa principle of "no loss, no gain" and “To gain, one has to lose.” (Zhuan Falun), I learned to make light of fame and fortune. I stopped fighting for the coveted professional titles at work.
After I was released from the forced labor camp in 2003 and returned to my school, the city 610 Office (the extralegal agency established by the communist regime specifically to persecute Falun Dafa) and the Political and Legal Affairs Committee instructed the Department of Education and my school not to allow me to teach. I was demoted from "first class teacher" to "staff."
The assistant principal said to me, “Not allowing you to teach in the classroom is truly a waste of educational resources.”
Later, when my school needed substitute teachers, school leaders, without the knowledge of their superiors, wanted me to do substitute teaching. I gladly accepted.
So I am paid the salary of a staff person but often do the work of a teacher.
For that, I feel no injustice and no resentment.
The principal said to me, "I didn’t think you would accept such an arrangement."
A Heart Changed and a Life Reborn
I believe that Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance can resolve all misunderstandings and injustice.
Over the years, parents have offered me gifts. After their children’s graduation, some parents even sent me a gold ring to show their gratitude.
Especially during Chinese New Year, I would receive gift vouchers from a few hundred to several thousand yuan. There would be fruit, a variety of food, clothing, and other kinds of gifts.
I returned them all. What I could not return, I converted to cash or other gifts to gift back to the parents.
Practicing Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance changed my heart and allowed me to be reborn.
I now live my life with sincerity instead of hypocrisy, kindness instead of selfishness, tolerance instead of narrow-mindedness, tranquility instead of anxiety.
Falun Dafa has benefited me so much that even if I were to use all the words in the human language, I still could not express the gratitude I feel for Master and Dafa!