[Celebrating World Falun Dafa Day] The Worst Class Encountered a Good Teacher
(Minghui.org) I am a high school teacher. In the past 18 years of working in an education environment, during times when students and the school ran into conflicts or when I experienced headaches over certain arrangements by the school authority, I was able to handle everything as a committed educator should.
One summer, I had just sent off a graduating class and was enjoying a little vacation before returning to school for another year as its first-year high school teacher.
However, I received an urgent phone call from the school principal who asked that I abort my vacation and be ready to take on a second-year class and also be a classroom teacher.
I was taken aback.
At the time, during the second year of high school, students were separated into two subject categories: the sciences and technology or the arts and humanities. Usually, first-year classroom teachers would advance with the class.
To have somebody else step in and take over would generally prove quite difficult. I had never been a classroom teacher, so it really puzzled me why the principal would make such a decision.
Still, I am a Falun Dafa practitioner. I must think of others first. I could not cause the principal any undue problem or distress because her responsibilities as head of a school must be tremendous.
Since I was asked I would comply. After all, it must mean the principal had confidence in me and I could not let her down.
And so, I took the first available train and headed back to school.
The first day of class, I was met with many pairs of challenging eyes full of distrust, and perhaps even defiance.
Some friendly colleagues told me privately, “This class is popularly known as the worst class in the school. Any student who demonstrates some abilities will be immediately transferred to another class. Parents with any money or clout have already pulled their children out to be placed elsewhere. The principal couldn’t find anybody to take on this class. Good will and good efforts will likely not produce good result.”
I thought to myself, “I’ll be all right. I’m a Dafa disciple. I’ll just have to act in accordance with Dafa’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. I’ll do my best to teach these students and show them my acceptance and respect. I won’t expect anything in return. I don’t believe anybody will object to genuine good will.”
And yet, reality didn’t turn out as simple as I imagined and hoped for. Problems continued to pop up. The worst was a number of male students who consistently played truant. They would run off during school hours to local internet bars.
So, after class, I would go from bar to bar looking for them. When I found them, I would take them to a café close by and treat them to ice cream. That shocked them. They didn’t dare to partake, being full of puzzlement over what this teacher was up to.
It was because in the past, other teachers would haul them back to school, give them a resounding lecture, call up their parents, or send them off to the school office for some form of punishment.
But, what I did was talk to them solemnly and sincerely. I let them know I understood their state of mind. I told them my expectations.
I said, “Water that freezes to three feet deep is not the result of one day’s chilling condition. I can’t expect you all to be settling down right away and learn seriously and solidly. But truancy is not the solution. It is really the most grievous mistake made by any student, and something I cannot and will not allow or tolerate.
“I merely want you all to stay put slowly and progress gradually.”
They seemed to be touched and all promised to stop playing truant.
However, promise is one thing but will power is quite another. Truancy still continued. At times, when I was at my wit’s end, I would have no choice but to call in their parents. A couple of times during our conferences, I was so distraught that tears would fall uncontrollably.
Both parents and students were touched, moved by what they could feel was my genuine concern.
In the meantime, the principal sought me out again to request that I help her out in handling another potentially devastating situation.
Apparently, students in a third-year tutoring class were dissatisfied with their tutor. So, the principal asked if I could take over the class.
My immediate thought was, “Oh no! I’m now teaching three second-year classes besides being a classroom teacher with multiple administrative responsibilities. I’m already feeling quite overwhelmed.
“If I have to add on another class and at a different grade level, I’m sure I will end up bruised and battered. Moreover, students in tutoring classes are notorious for being picky and critical of their tutors.”
If I were not a Dafa cultivator, there would have been no way I could even have considered the principal’s request. However, Dafa requires that disciples always think of others first. So, I have only one choice to make.
I told the principal without further ado, “Okay. I’ll do it.”
At once, I set to work to ensure another quality class. I made up for my inexperience by resorting to getting up earlier and going to bed later so as to have sufficient time to prepare well my lessons.
After a short period of adjustment, students in the tutoring class eased up on giving me a hard time, and I also discovered that each student was from a single-parent home. I began to show more empathy toward them. I encouraged them to open up in class and feel free to share their thoughts and ideas, starting with the few who still maintained some semblance of positivity and enthusiasm.
On the first pay day, I went to the department store to purchase some shirts and shoes for two students who had lost their mothers. Although my wages were meagre, I felt good spending whatever little I had with these children. It was worth it.
At the time, teachers who ordered tutoring materials would receive rebates. But, I am a Dafa disciple and must live according a higher standard. Since I could not change the rebate practice, I used the rebate money to buy extracurricular resources for my classes to include world classics, in hopes of widening their global knowledge.
Slowly, the atmosphere in the classroom changed for the better and the test scores of the students rose.
When the school was picking out its annual top students for the third year of high school, six from my tutoring class were nominated, which happened to be the highest number in all classes combined.
These top students would then form a special new class.
Usually, each teacher in other classes would attempt to persuade the selected students to remain because their staying would increase the chance of the class getting a higher amount in college entrance exam bonuses.
However, when two of my students didn’t want to leave my class, I told them, “This special new class will be more conducive in helping you spread your wings.”
After the graduation of my first batch of third-year students, the principal granted me the top honor of Best Teacher Award at the county level, to recognize my work and thank me for my efforts.
On top of that, because the promotion rate of students from all my classes was the highest in the school, the amount of my bonus was also the highest among teachers.
All parents hope their children will meet up with a good teacher. Likewise, all leaders hope each of their staff will perform to the best of his or her abilities. As a Dafa disciple, within my job capacity, my hope is to be a responsible teacher and a conscientious employee.
A Dafa disciple living in the midst of ordinary society must live in accordance with Dafa’s guiding principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance to be a good person.
My hope is that everybody in and outside of China will have the opportunity to understand the truth about Falun Dafa. If you do, I heartily congratulate you, because you are the owner of the most precious wealth in life.