Teaching with Patience

Story and photos by Group 87 Education Volunteer Deborah Miller
Students working hard in literacy class
“Little Jevaughn* in the grade 2 class at my school is a handful. Standing at just about 2 feet tall, he is known by teachers and students alike as the most unruly child in the school. He steals from students and causes confusion in the classroom daily. Jevaughn always has cuts and bruises on his face and body from fighting. He will fight just about anyone, big or small. To top it all off, Jevaughn’s mother recently passed away and it was apparent to everyone that he took the news very hard.
Since his mother’s passing, the community has banded together to embrace him as their son. It has really been a beautiful thing to see and the love he has been shown has had positive effects on his school behavior. In my own pullouts with him, I have seen a tremendous change in his focus, ability and desire to learn. When I first started attempting to get to know and teach Jevaughn, it was an impossible task. He was very rude and unwillingly to do anything. On a few occasions he hit me and tried to spit on me. This is a small child. I would ask myself, “Why is he so angry all the time?” When I asked him any sort of question, about himself or in reference to learning his alphabet sounds, he would look me in the eye and say “No!” and run away. It went on like this for the first couple months and I thought about giving up on him like all the rest of the teachers but if I did that it would not help him or the school community.

My classroom, where I conduct small group literacy pull-out classes
I’m not sure what exactly triggered the change in Jevaughn, but he began to enjoy our reading sessions and participates. He sits engaged the entire 45 minutes that I see him and is excited about learning new things. He greets me with “Hey Miss!” in the morning and gives me a hug, when just months prior he was trying to fight me. I think this goes to show that patience in education and child development is more than necessary. This story also shows that love has the power to change the most difficult people. Jevaughn sensed that people care for him and his whole disposition changed. I’m really excited to see his personal and academic growth throughout the rest of my service.”
*Student’s name has been changed

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