It Came out of Nowhere

Usually in my role as an assistant principal, I arrive on the scene after a physical altercation has occurred. But this time, I was right in the middle of it… 

I heard unusually loud noises coming from the room across the hall and a voice shouting, “We need help!”

As I pushed the door open, I saw two students on the ground fighting surrounded by more students watching and filming. Without thinking, I ran over and attempted to separate the two, which resulted in being kicked while in the crossfire. Shortly after, another teacher arrived and we were able to separate the two until law enforcement and more administration were present. 

I know that my experience is not unique among educators. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, one-third of pre K-12 teachers, administrators, school staff, and counselors have reported experiencing at least one incident of verbal or threatening violence from students since 2020.

So, how can Christian educators navigate these challenging circumstances while staying true to their faith and ensuring the safety of all involved?

James 1:19-20 (NIV) offers valuable guidance: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” 

Christian Educators have a unique opportunity to let God’s love shine through our actions, even in the face of adversity. Here’s how we can embody these principles:

Quick to listen: As educators, we are trained to understand that behavior is a form of communication. Observing and asking questions is an opportunity to listen to students who are hurting and provide loving guidance and encouragement. 

Immediately following the incident, I stayed in the room with one of the students. Instead of asking questions, I sat there quietly, allowing the student to share until the student started to cry. 

Slow to speak: Too often I race into situations and attempt to solve a problem I truly don’t understand. By spending more time in listening mode and observing interactions, I gain a better understanding of emotions and behaviors. Furthermore, taking the time to process events and interactions allows us to respond with wisdom and empathy.

As the student sobbed for almost ten minutes, I just moved closer and sat next to the student instead of talking. At that moment, my actions spoke louder than words.

Slow to anger: When faced with challenging circumstances, it’s easy to succumb to feelings of anger and frustration. However, harboring resentment will only harden your heart. 

After the altercation, I found myself nursing physical and emotional wounds, grappling with feelings of anger towards the students involved and the system at large. In response, I sought help from trusted professionals and Christian friends, allowing myself to acknowledge my emotions and release them in a healthy way.

Two weeks later, I encountered one of the students involved in the incident. I was expecting condemnation. But to my surprise, they approached me with concern and asked if I was okay. At that moment, I realized the power of responding with grace and understanding. By choosing to extend kindness instead of judgment, we create opportunities for healing and reconciliation.

Navigating incidents of violence in schools is never easy. But as Christian educators, we can find hope in knowing that we are called to be agents of God’s love and reconciliation. Let’s continue to demonstrate His love in our schools, even amidst the darkest of circumstances.

If you are currently struggling with a student, family, or administration and need guidance and support, please reach out to Christian Educators. We would love to hear from you! 

In what ways do you practice being an attentive listener, thoughtful speaker, and patient responder in difficult moments? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!

SavED by Grace

A fun and encouraging blog community designed to highlight the stories and testimonies of Christian educators, empowering and encouraging them as they faithfully serve each and every day in their schools. 

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