After a significantly busy day at work, I decided to have a quiet time at the bay. As I closed my eyes, all I could visualize was the images of the kids I work with, their faces are constantly overwhelming my subconscious. Their actions, reactions, their laughter, tears, madness, pain, fears , love, and many more to mention. My daily experience takes over my emotions, leaving me with no space for myself. In such a giving job as I have now, we are required to be attentive to others, but most importantly ourselves, which can determine they way others react to situations and how we manage them.
I began this job as a teacher not too long ago, my official title is Associate Teacher but actually that does not determine the experience we live in the school, or how we perceive it. To be honest, it has changed my life in a way I yet have to discover. I am in a constant observation of my emotions and how I can make them the best, and most positive without being carried away by the triggers the kids pull on me unintentionally, they are kids after all. As an overly sensitive individual, I have to contain myself at times from tearing up in front of them, because of empathy or simple frustration that they do not listen to what I am trying to explain.
As I watch them express their emotions impulsively, I look within myself to see how I could have reacted the same way when I was their age, and even now. Then, while making an effort to help them understand what their are doing and the effect is having in themselves and others, I am really talking to myself, sometimes as my parents used to talk to me because they wanted the best for me. We try to give these kids a lesson but who are we to do this? We make mistakes as well, the same stupid mistakes that they make sometimes and because of our age and experience, our lack of emotional intelligence leads us to creating even worse situations that what the kids do at school.
As these kids come from families of hardship, they are ultimately testing others and themselves in order to know how far they can go. They do not know their limits, or probably do and want to go beyond them. I know they want to be different, they want to be noticed and being valued, because the only value they know is being tougher than the other boy and not letting anyone walk all over them, that would be weak. Sometimes they remind me of myself, i.e. when I am in need of help and I do not ask for it because I want to seem tough and I want to get through all of it myself. That is exactly what they do, they do not want to seem vulnerable, and they think they know how to get through situations, not knowing that they might be harming themselves in the process.
The most beautiful part of this place is when I hear them singing together, dancing, looking after each other when one is in need. No matter how many issues they have between one another they still are brothers. They have so much love to give, they don’t know how to express it. It is all pushed down by the walls they have built in order to survive in their environments. This makes me feel a little guilty sometimes, when I get upset at them, and when my patience is running low. It hurts me when I have to tell them they can’t do something fun and I have to demonstrate that I am serious, and they need to follow my directions. I wish to be a role mother, even though I don’t have kids myself, although if you asked me if I have kids, I would say that I do, I have 120 of them.
So, going back to my night at the bay. As I have my eyes closed and try to think about something else than the kids, an elderly couple walks by me and the man says, “May peace be with you.” It was as if he had read my mind, then I said as he walked away, “Thank you, God bless.” He said, “Amen” and I responded with a genuine smile.