That Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi

That’s the way bartleby.com defines a quality or attribute that is difficult to describe or express. The expression is a good one to use when defining what makes a teacher, but I hadn’t thought about it recently until the daughter invoked it this morning.

We were walking by the nursery room at her church which was, at that moment, unattended. There was a fight going on over a ball between some kids who looked to be seven or eight. The daughter was standing outside the door when she saw the girl push the boy into the brick wall of the room.

Whereupon she turned to me and said, “You’re a teacher. Aren’t you going to do something?”

OK. I am a teacher. But it was her church. And my certification is in secondary education. I don’t normally deal with little kids.

Nevertheless the fighting was escalating, so I walked into the room and said.”HEY!”

The fighting stopped. The kids turned to look at me and the girl started in with, “He was trying to take our ball….”

I interrupted her. “I don’t care,” I said. “This is church, and you ought not to be acting this way.”

It was at this point that the boy who had been pushed into the wall decided to cry and run out into the hallway. I turned to follow him out just in time to hear a young lady ask my daughter what was going on.

“The kids were fighting,” she said, “and my mom’s a teacher, so I decided to let her handle it.”

“Looks like it worked,” the girl replied.

I really have no idea why it is that people expect teachers to competently deal with kids unless it is because they are used to surviving in the midst of them. Evidently I have developed this ability somewhere along the way. To manage kids, I mean.

It often seems as though my own family is immune….

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