Many of you may not know that I went back to school as an adult to further study and expand my knowledge in certain areas. A classroom setting is very different from the workplace. At work, we are very busy doing, but in class we tend to listen and observe much more.
The other day one of my psychology teachers got so upset at the conduct of a few young men in the class that he completely lost his cool and walked out of the class.
I was very disturbed by the teacher’s reaction. I felt that as a psychology teacher, who knows and teaches so much about human nature and emotions, to explode and get so angry was not the right thing to do. So as a person who often expresses herself in writing, I sat down and wrote my teacher a letter.
Hello Prof. David,
I felt sorry for you today in class. You got so disturbed by the two young men who were disruptive. It doesn’t ever feel good to get yelled at or have someone be angry with us. However we also don’t feel very good when we get angry and upset ourselves.
You are a very smart teacher and have many years of practice in your profession. You are always in control of every situation. You also try to control all of your thoughts and emotions. You always have the right things to say. And whenever you can no longer control the situation or your feelings, you simply remove yourself from the situation or remove whomever it is that is troubling you. You refuse to have someone setting you off track.
You do everything according to plan. Even when things don’t go as planned, like that fender-bender you had on your way to school that you told us about the other day, you still manage to control the situation. Within a split second you handed the other driver your business card, told her to call you, and were off to teach and back in control.
Like me, I’m sure you believe in the Almighty. Everyone does in his or her own way. Yet you feel that in this world you’re in charge. To some degree, this is true. But I think otherwise. In my way of thinking, I understand that it’s actually the creator of the world who is calling all the shots, even the ones we feel we chose so closely. He is the one who guides and directs us at every turn.
That makes me really happy because I know that even on hard and frustrating days, Hashem is always there guiding me along. And I’m not alone no matter what. Sure, we all wish to control everything around us, and sometimes to run away from our hardships, but running isn’t always the right thing to do. We must try to deal with what we are sent by the Almighty.
Our relationship with our creator is so personal and so specific for each and every one of us. It is true that the Torah and mitzvot help keep us on track. But before we can observe all the commandments we must establish even the smallest of connections to G-d.
When something happens in our day, it’s simply our Father in Heaven telling us to stop and look up. Hashem keeps watch over us always. When we drive, the traffic lights tell us when to go and when to stop. If you don’t listen and instead drive whenever you like, you will probably get hurt and/or hurt others as well.
Your field is psychology. Your job is to constantly have contact and communication. But as smart and as educated as you are, there are many major factors that you have no control over. Whether you agree or disagree with what I am saying, that doesn’t change the fact. This is how the world runs. It is the creator who is really running the show.
Who is the Almighty? He is love, strength, and everything good in this world. G-d sends all sorts of attempts to reach us throughout our lives. Stop and think for a moment: What does Hashem want from me? Do I need to change something? Am I glad my Father in Heaven gave me my beautiful life and keeps me alive every minute and every second?
I’m very sensitive. I care about everyone, including those who get hurt, those who suffer, and those who are angry. It pained me today in class to see you get so angry at the boys who were disruptive. You are a wise man, and everyone is listening to you. And suddenly some young person makes you lose your cool and you lose it.
In your controlled world, people like those boys get wiped out in a second. Someone upsets you, so you simply remove yourself or them from the picture. However in this case there isn’t much you can do to control the situation. You have a whole class to teach and you must go on.
Sometimes the hard and annoying things are exactly the experience the Almighty wants us to have. I have many situations and people in my life that I would rather do without. But Hashem gave me my experiences, for me, so that I can become a better person. The only way I could get closer to Hashem is by accepting what he sends my way and understanding that it is from above.
G-d chose who will be in your class. Connect to your inner soul and listen to what G-d is telling you. It’s easy to see the guilty party always on the outside. The greatest wisdom is looking inside and working with the creator. The experiences will keep on coming. What we do every time it happens is our choice.
Choose to see Hashem and talk with him. Those boys in class are just there for you to become a better person. Respond to your inner thoughts of why and how to improve. Don’t lash out at these boys. By doing so you will truly be “controlling” the real situation at hand.
From your student Michal who cares
The teacher’s response was as follows:
Hello Dear Student,
I appreciate your letter and profound words of wisdom to me. I truly didn’t see things in the light that you presented. As a very articulate and sharp teacher, it’s hard for me to see students who don’t work hard or push themselves further to help themselves succeed. True, by getting angry and storming out, I was not punishing those young men but the whole class by stopping the lesson.
I appreciate your analysis of the situation and your perception and outlook on how to create better “reactions” in the future. Looking forward to a better learning experience with all my students.
With great respect for you actions and meaningful words,
In life it really doesn’t matter if you’re at work or at school or anywhere else. Every place is the right place to care about and share with the people surrounding you, within the tactful boundaries of communication, what you feel and believe in your heart.