Rising Against All Odds
Dorina's Journey: Fostering Children's Transformation with Jesus' Love
During the initial week of my teaching journey, I found myself on the brink of giving up. While the enthusiasm to teach remained unwavering, unexpected turns put my commitment to the test. First, the scorching heat was unrelenting, sapping my energy and leaving me physically and vocally depleted.
Then, I learned about the diverse backgrounds of my young first-graders. For many, this is their first year of schooling, and classroom discipline was an unfamiliar concept. A couple of them are dealing with hyperactivity disorders. Some children battle with diseases that demand extra attention. One child suffers from severe itchiness, causing him to inadvertently hurt himself by rubbing his skin against rough surfaces. Three of them come from unloving families, grappling with emotional wounds even before they set foot in the classroom.
One morning, I found myself wrestling to get out of bed. Exhaustion and weariness had crept in, and I whispered a plea to God to get me out of this seemingly impossible task. Nevertheless, a sense of duty called me to school, and that day God revealed His presence to me through an unexpected encounter with one challenging student: Edi.
Having grown up without any parental guidance, Edi behaved poorly; he was aggressive, throwing violent tantrums that made the whole class feel intimidated. As the morning commenced with its usual chaos, I issued a warning to my students. Astonishingly, Edi approached me and said, “I’m sorry Teacher, today I want to listen to you.” He continued sharing about how his dad had left him and it was difficult for him to find breakfast. As he babbled, tears welled up in his eyes. Deeply moved, I offered him my lunch and granted him a few private moments to eat.
I was tempted to feel overwhelmed and doubt my ability to make a difference. But as days turned into weeks, I began to witness shifts in the classroom dynamics. After two weeks of extra counseling with the students hailing from challenging family backgrounds, I started to see improvement in their behavior. Even Edi, who had once been a source of disruption, emerged as a beacon of change. During chaotic moments, he took it upon himself to stand up and declare, “Quiet, everyone! We need to listen to Teacher Dorina!” His peers heeded his words, and by day’s end, he often approached me seeking extra homework.
During these moments, I can hear God’s voice saying, “I would never give up on them, nor on you.” Now, I realize that my role is not only to impart knowledge but to provide counsel and a safe haven amidst the challenges they face daily. My classroom is a sanctuary, a place where they experience Jesus’ unwavering love.
As I stand before these children, who are blossoming against all odds, I know that giving up is not an option. Our journey has just begun, and together, we are nurturing transformation in each other, one step at a time.
Picture: Dorina and Edi