Think back to when you were in elementary school. Who was the best teacher you ever had? Was it Mr. Jock, the good-looking soccer coach? Or was it Ms. Whizz, the teacher with all the answers? Maybe it was Mrs. Chum, the one who tried to be everyone’s friend? Chances are it was none of the above. The teacher you’ll never forget is either Mr. Lemon, the one who called you “Stupid” every math class, or Mrs. Charm the one who smiled every morning and said, “I sure am glad you came to school today.”
Being able to talk to people is a gift. Not everyone knows what to say and when to say it. Teachers are no different. Not all teachers are naturals at listening, making people feel cared about, and helping resolve problems. It takes years of practice. Those that take it seriously are remembered because they were good teachers. Those who don’t either fade into oblivion, or are remembered because they were bad teachers.
Teaching is not just arithmetic, science, or reading. It’s also motivating Charlie to learn his 2X tables, when he doesn’t think he’ll ever get it. Teaching is making Elijah feel less scared about staying away from his mommy. It’s letting Jack get mad about his parent’s divorce, and supporting Jack’s mother and father as they each struggle to lead their own lives. Theses are the tender mercies you’re called upon every day, and if you don’t know what to do or say, you may find your stomach tying up in knots or your skin beading up with perspiration, or your heart racing. The key is, “Be Prepared.” This chapter will help you face the emotional challenges of teaching.