Entry #6 of 12 Christian Teacher in First Nations Schools ~ Journey Toward Forgiveness
Saving Face ~ I listened to the young advocate for FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) plead with a dead quiet room full of teachers.
"So, now that you know the issue with these kids is brain function and not willful behaviour, how will your paradigm change?"
I thought about that.
"Imagine saying to a blind student, YOU'RE SUSPENDED FOR 3 DAYS AND WHEN YOU COME BACK YOU BETTER NOT BE BLIND!"
I thought about that too.
In fact, it changed the way I looked at a few of my students who just couldn't pay attention, or seemed to get into trouble without even trying. It's so tempting to think they're "just doing it on purpose". Every teacher knows not to take classroom occurrences personally. My husband and I have woke up to descriptive words scrawled on our home in spray paint and permanent markers, woke up in the night to our shed being broken into, and had a fairly new 12-string guitar and case drenched with gas and set aflame.
Over the years we've seen students punch one another in the face, heave books or desks across the room, flop on the floor, yell and refuse to move or say those descriptive words to your face. And we've seen their parents storm into the school mid-day spewing a tirade of verbal abuse, blaming the teacher for their child's behaviour.
"You guys are being paid the big bucks, you fix it"
"This school is nothing but poison. Always has been poison and always will be poison".
I thought about the legacy of the residential school system and how the Canadian Government back in 2008 on a special National Television airing, apologized to First Nations people for a policy that attempted to "kill the Indian in the child". We had gathered the student body of that small First Nations school into the Library to watch this historical event.
We just heard the Prime Minister of Canada ask for forgiveness on behalf of his predecessors.
I was and wasn't surprised, when we heard an 11 year old, bitterly state what we knew was the result of years of parental input.
"I HATE those men. And I will NEVER forgive them."