38: Eye See You

38: Eye See You

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teacher Tales

Eye See You

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.

~Jonathan Swift

I walked into a wild third-grade classroom. Music was playing loudly, children were under tables applying make-up, kids were throwing a football indoors, and students were dancing wherever they could find space. I was a mid-year replacement. The previous teacher said he could no longer manage these children and resigned without notice during the holiday break.

As soon as I walked in the room, I realized why he left.

I sat down quietly in my chair and began reading their names softly. After each name, I prayed, asking God to help me understand that child.

I then nailed a mirror to the wall next to the chalkboard and began writing my name and a reading assignment on the board.

I then asked each child to come to me, tell me their name and what they wanted to learn. It was a difficult task, because only two children there wanted to learn anything!

Rules were set, boundaries established, parents contacted. But the mirror saved the day—no, the year!

Unbeknownst to the children, the mirror allowed me to see their every move while I was writing on the board. They soon became puzzled as to how I knew who was misbehaving while I was writing on the board. When one student finally asked me, I told him I had a special teacher’s eye in the back of my head that my hair covered.

At first they did not believe me. But they did begin to exhibit better behavior, especially while I wrote on the board, thinking I had magical vision.

I never told them differently. Why mess up a good thing?

~Malinda Dunlap Fillingim

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