A situation where the student has behaved badly and rather than remember the long view I've reacted in that moment, forgetting that the student's feelings and relationship with me are not defined by the previous few seconds of mischief but the many experiences and exchanges over a long time.
It's embarrassing really. I am the professional (supposedly) after all.
I got it right this week. There is a student who never does any work in my class and yet despite this seems to have taken a shine to me. She seems to hover at the end of lessons and waits in places inside the school when I'm on duty that will guarantee her being sent out but prior to that having a conversation. And yet, frustratingly, I can't get her motivated. But then I have managed to do that other great feat, that is provide more than knowledge (or access to it). I think I've managed to offer the girl solace.
I was teaching a year 7 (12 year olds) class when I glanced outside my room and saw her standing facing the wall, face in hands, sobbing. I invited her in and told her to take a seat at the back of the room where she sat, face still very much in hands. This was surprising as hitherto she had seemed immune to any type of emotion other than apathy and nonchalance.
I had to send for someone to come and collect her, (it turns out she had walked out of a maths lesson on the other aide of the school and people were looking for her), but she returned at the end of day. She walked to the local nursery with me where I picked up my son and walked back to my house where she waited outside whilst I dropped off said child. We then walked back to school and to the pastoral manager for her year group. She didn't tell me why she was upset but I did manage to elicit that there was something at home that was troubling her and left at that.
She returned again sometime later, this time with a friend who did the talking, and I advised them to go and find somewhere quiet to sit - I was giving a revision class and could not come away at that time.
Why did she come to me? I think it might have been because despite my frustration with her lack of effort, despair at her apathy and even punishments for disobedience, she knew that I cared and have always been polite and fair.
I just wonder how many other children haven't come to my door that would have done if I had had more perspective when dealing with them. How many more children are crying out for help?