One way I am able to manage myself and my response to my emotionally disabled students is to meditate daily. I try to pray for a peacefulness, a centeredness that will allow me to do my best everyday, despite the terrible stress and frequent disappointments.
(Not surprisingly, I have found a source on the web, A BLOG no less, that supports me in my daily work. Ever a fan of Thomas Merton, this site includes Merton's wise words as well as daily prayers )
Anyway, this one small prayer, 7 short words, hit me hard last night as I went searching for guidance and peace.
Lord, help me not be an obstacle.
Somedays, that's all I can ask for.
1. When the angry parent calls, help me keep a calm voice, and open heart. The last thing I need is a defensive posture. Give me the wisdom to know when it’s time to refer the call to my principal.
2. When I feel overburdened, overtired, and underappreciated, let me remember why I am here: not for ease, or comfort, or accolades. I am here for the child who is fighting everyday to overcome the ravages of emotional disabilities, abuse issues, and worse. The pain he inflicts is never more than the pain he suffers each and every moment of the day.
3. When fellow teachers fall short of our highest expectations, when they appear to give less than is possible, help me see that we often only do as much as we can. Compassion for their challenges just might be the open door to supporting change.
4. Finally, help me make right-minded, ethical choices as I move through my day, always mindful of the power I have over my students’ school life.
I know it's not for everyone, but I need all the help I can get!!