Most kids who walk into our classrooms, will listen, behave respectfully and complete their work when we ask. There are a few though who will be more challenging. Even though they can tell us the difference between right and wrong and they can articulate what they know we want to hear, they still have difficulty complying or making appropriate choices. These kids usually face greater challenges than those immediately evident as they sit before us in the classroom. Often, they lack hope.
Last Thursday, our principal laced his Terry Fox runners, our students gathered in the field, and we set out to honour the memory of a Canadian hero. Two weeks before that, on a hectic Monday morning, we watched a short video of Terry Fox during assembly. I had been feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and perhaps a little self-pity. And then, as I watched the familiar hop-step, hop-step, hop-step, and remembered the journey and struggle of this young man, my problems suddenly seemed unimportant. My mood was transformed.
How can we convey this sense of hope to our students? How do we show our students – all of them – that we care? Those who most need hope in their lives are not those who are quickest to comply or easiest to like. Those who most need hope are those who challenge our patience, test our persistence and force us to use every trick up our sleeve.
Without hope, Terry Fox, couldn’t have set out on his arduous journey. Without hope, he couldn’t have inspired a nation. Without hope, some of our students may flounder.
Though not tangible, though not easily articulated, hope is an essential ingredient in our relationships with our students.