From the first day of school, I knew Juan was going to be tough to handle. He hated doing work in class, he was always sleeping, he wouldn’t bring writing utensils, paper or homework to class, it was a mess! My mentor teacher didn’t do very well in handling him either. She would automatically resort to sending him out of class instead of trying to deal with him before resorting to outside authority. I decided when I took over the class that I was going to kill Juan with kindness-something my grandmother taught me that I have always felt went a long way.
In the last couple of weeks, Juan and I have bonded. Admittedly I have been a bit more lenient on him than I probably should have, but I knew that being ridiculously stern with him would just make him push me and what I was trying to do away. So I have done everything I could to give him chances and it really has seemed to work. He was missing quite a bit of work, so his mother was called and she was actually quite pleasant on the phone. The next day he was doing better at answering questions and paying attention in class. He brought all his work in too and is now passing my class.
Today as my kids were writing I put on some music. I looked up a particular song on my computer and it happened to pull up with it Truman G. Madsen’s lectures on faith. Juan walked passed my computer, paused for a minute and then walked up to me. ‘Miss what church do you go to?’ he asked. I got a little nervous since I am not really sure how much of my religion I can talk about at school. ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Are you Mormon, Miss?’ he pried. ‘Yeah I am.’ I said. ‘Me too.’he responded with a smile. My jaw about hit the floor.
I got the kids started on what they were doing and I went back to talk to him. I said (I was smiling the whole time and so was he just so you know, this was a friendly exchange), ‘I don’t believe you!’ He laughed and said, ‘I am! I am Miss I swear!’. Figuring I could catch him in a lie I said, ‘What class are you in in Young Mens?’ ‘I’m a priest.’ I just started laughing. He shared with me that he was the first member in his family, that he had been baptized in Mexico and was followed into the waters months later by the rest of his family except his father who is still not a fan of the church.
When he left today, he looked back at me, smiled and said, ‘I got you Miss.’ which is high school student for I respect you.
I am so glad I killed him with kindness.