Bird Droppings March 3, 2010
You can wait a moment
“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance?” Franklin P. Jones
I have yet to understand impatience. I experienced a situation yesterday with a teacher that made little sense. I understood what was going on yet within that moment also saw why so many students get frustrated with education. A teacher gave a zero for a paper being after the bell by five minutes, a major paper. The student was ready to quit, the students grade dropped from a 98 to a 44 in one swoop. This was teaching a lesson in responsibility I was told. As I sat back and tried to grasp the significance of this moment I understood why we have so many issues in education.
“Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience.” George-Louis de Buffon
I have watched this same student deal with inept teachers in many classes, and patience ruled. Yet what signal are we sending when a student is so destroyed. When you get in the work and then things have to be on exactly on time or else. As I thought in the work place presses and equipment will go down and such as well and maybe in this situation there was a viable reason for being five minutes late. In our school many students have Microsoft Works at home and I will end up translating to Word for them although we do have a several computers in the library with added program to convert and change over.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
As I thought and pondered this morning it hit me why we have so much stress in students they learn it from teachers. I recall many years ago in fourth grade, I was sitting looking at my test paper and at the students next to me, I had two wrong and a C and my neighbor had three wrong and an A. I asked what was going on and was told I could do better. My mother questioned the teacher and found I was being graded harder. I was supposed to be smarter. Guess what it back fired my grades in school never recovered from that simple instant of a teacher’s perception. I have used that story many times over and now as a teacher find it so hard to watch teachers impose their perception over a student’s.
“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams
How do we learn patience and learn to wait? Should we even try and see as another person does and understand what is being said or done by that person.
“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” St. Augustine
So often references to patience are references to monastic orders and famous monks sitting in silence for many hours or in the case of a holy man from India 27 years, he held his hand aloft without moving in honor of Vishnu. For 27 years he stayed still until a bird nested in his hand and he felt he had reached Nirvana. However his arm was atrophied and useless except for a bird to nest in but he was happy. I actually do not see many students holding their hands aloft for twenty seven years however.
“How poor are they that have not patience!” “What wound did ever heal but by degrees?” William Shakespeare, Othello, 1604
Patience maybe is over used within our society. A few days as I was doing bus duty, a parent came up the side of the buses and wanted to turn between moving buses to get their child to school. I do believe several state and federal laws were in jeopardy such as passing unloading school busses and dodging between and honking at a teacher who is in place instead of a traffic officer the person in charge. Patience is a powerful word and a powerful teaching tool if only we could bottle it and market it.
“One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.” Chinese Proverb
Why can’t we wait at times when appropriate? There are times when immediacy is needed, but each moment is different and each child is different. How we deal with and handle each is different. This is where patience becomes so critical in each individual moment. Recently I became angered at a student who in frustration tore up their paper and began to swear in anger. However the difference in this students actions and another student doing the same thing was in several years of experience of observing students with behavior issues and on this occasion it was not patience that had waned but a student searching for a way out of school and border line getting physical about it. Patience also entails experience and understanding to know when to listen and when to act. A student who hands a paper in five minutes late and is given a zero and then chooses to write no more and may have been another Hemmingway is slightly different than one who in the next instant may tale a swing at a teacher or another student. As I ponder this student how once received a zero was further encouraged to write and recently won a county wide writing contest and is now on their way to a regional win.
“Experience has taught me this, that we undo ourselves by impatience. Misfortunes have their life and their limits, their sickness and their health.” Michel de Montaigne
Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.