In one of my classes, a tall boy stood up in the middle of my Science class, looked me straight in the eye, and said “You can’t boss me.” He refused to sit down. Within seconds his classmates were on his side, refusing to follow my instructions.
The next year I found myself transferred to another school, which was much tougher than the one I had left.
My assignment also changed. I was now teaching French as a second language to 7 classes of 12 year old students every day.
I taught every 12 year in the small village where I lived. Students and parents knew where I lived, where I shopped, what I did.
The next two years were dominated by confrontations with aggressive, unmotivated and miserable students.
My students were dismissed by the bell, not by me. As soon as the bell rang, they took off out of my classroom in an unruly mob, ignoring my feeble attempts to tell them what was for homework. I then spent valuable time straightening all the desks and chairs back into rows.
After only 4 years of teaching, I wanted to leave. I was burned out, stressed out and emotionally exhausted.
I didn’t want to ask for help. I didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t know what to do.
Ten years later the entire school staff, student body and parents came to an assembly to see me receive The Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics, Science and Technology.
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