What a Teacher Can Learn from Tiny Students

Column Post by Laura Hyers

I am a preschool teacher. I hang out with two-year-olds for forty hours a week and I change diapers and wipe noses and discipline and teach and celebrate and snuggle and chase and I try more than anything to love.

But dang, some days it is hard to love. Hard to love difficult coworkers, hard to love parents that just can’t get it together for the sake of their child, hard to love kids who are determined to show me just how much power they have.

Some days I come home and crawl into bed and tell my dear wonderful husband that I am never, ever, ever having children (which we both always know is a lie–I love kids, and I relish the idea of being a mom when the time is right).

What do you do at the end of a day when all you’ve been good at is being harsh, hard, critical, cranky? What do you say to justify losing your temper with that one little girl who is just too smart for her own good and has just as much sass as she has smarts?

There isn’t really a way to fix those things once they’ve happened. I take them home with me and I carry them on my shoulders and I weigh my sins heavy and I get so disappointed when I feel that I’ve dropped the ball.

But here’s the incredibly humbling part about working with kids: they are so quick to forgive. They won’t remember tomorrow that I was sarcastic, or that I got flustered and lost my temper at the end of the day, or that I snapped at the little boy who kept pushing his friends. I’ll walk in the door to my classroom in the morning and they will run to me and wrap their arms around my legs and they’ll say, “Miss Wawra! You’re back!”

And they’ll ask for the first of a thousand times that day to play with trains, or watch the caterpillar movie, or wonder if we’re having a bouncy castle today, and even if I’m still berating myself for the hundred ways I failed them the day before, they will love me as much as they did before I screwed up, and they will be completely enraptured in the moment at hand.

They’ll all answer at once when we do flash cards and they’ll push friends for having the toy they want and they’ll try to open the door and run into the hallway just to give me a heart attack, but they will do it with just as much zeal as the day before. And when I cover them up before naptime and they say goodnight, they will be just as tender as they were before I was too harsh.

Most days I think that must have been part of what Jesus meant when He told His followers to be like little children. It simplifies life and fills it with joy.

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P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts, so please be sure to comment below. Each of our commenters will be entered in a drawing for this month’s FREE book giveaway, Mothers & Daughters: Mending a Strained Relationship by author Teena Stewart. 

Laura Hyers is a Tampa native, writer, and the newly wed wife of musician Caleb. She recently graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in literature and is currently teaching preschool. When not chasing a class of two-year-olds, Laura is writing and fighting fierce bouts of wanderlust. She loves music, reading, being near the ocean, and dreaming big over huge cups of coffee with her best friend Lakin. Laura blogs at http://littlebirdmarie.wordpress.com.

Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)

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