Start from Compassion

A Taiwanese practitioner

PureInsight | December 13, 2012

[] As a substitute teacher in a primary school, I used to teach in different schools almost every year. Usually it was not a problem for me to acclimate to new surroundings. However, when I took someone’s class last year, I met with a big ordeal to test my character. Although I gained the Fa many years ago, my personality and temper were not good enough because I hadn’t changed very much. From superficial interaction with people, they might not have perceived any of my bad character traits, but for myself, in my inner heart, I knew that I was far from meeting the requirements of the Fa.

The Most Prominent Barrier of Character I Met While Being a Substitute Teacher

I mainly taught fifth or sixth grade pupils in primary school. Although it was a primary school, these pupils were not easy to teach. Also, my bad temper made me correct them directly when they made mistakes rather than lead them on systematically with kindness. In addition, I was a classroom teacher and I taught many classes, but with more students involved, I started to lose patience (This is a big problem with my personality). Such negative emotions were accumulating with time, which in turn started to increase the students’ negative emotions as well; some of them even made a nickname for me behind my back, and the class order turned worse. I didn’t even want to go to work. Among the different classes, there was a class that was particularly bad. Pupils often made so much trouble in this class that I couldn’t teach them anymore. I had been thinking for a long time before I decided to complain to their instructor. The first time I complained, the instructor solved the problem and the students’ behavior issues were restrained temporarily. However, it did not take long before they returned to their original state. When they passed by my teaching class, they would deliberately call out my nickname and quickly run away. This bothered me so much that I gradually started to lose confidence in being a teacher. Finally one day, I caught a student who had called my nickname. I did not expect that he was in the class that I had complained to the instructor about before. I made up my mind to complain to their instructor again. It was lunch time, what I did not expect was the first thing he said: “Why does an English teacher come for me?” My heart sank at that moment, but since I was there, I could not go back empty-handed. What I never suspected was the fact that this time the instructor was not even on my side, but instead scolded me immediately in front of many students. As a teacher, I don’t mind being scolded by another teacher, but it was very embarrassing for me to lose face in front of so many students. Later, I returned to my classroom without eating anything and closed all the windows and doors. I felt too sad to cry; I started to look inward.

Looking Inward When Sad
I remembered that when some local practitioners from my area had criticised me more than once in front of many other practitioners, I endured it in silence and even felt a little relieved because I felt that I hadn’t lost face at all. I had learned to accept criticism from other practitioners without rancour, which is something that I understand meets Master’s requirements. However, I failed to dig out the attachments hidden deep in my heart. In other words, in dealing with people or situations, such as practitioners and students, I just paid attention to dealing with things with reason and ignored the importance of mood and compassion. As I thought through this, I understood the problem more, so I wrote it down on a piece of paper over and over: tone of voice, kind heartedness, reasoning, and thank Master. I knew that it was Master who wanted me to improve my xinxing. Although I realized this, I still failed to sleep well because I had no idea of how to put it into practice. Based on the fact that this issue has been accumulating for a while, many students from different classes had a certain antipathy towards me. Meanwhile, they would talk about this in private, so any news would spread quickly. I knew that this was related to some factors in my cultivation, but what on earth could I do?

Continuously Letting Go of Self: My Changed Mentality Gradually Contributes to the Environment Around Me Changing
I knew that I had to let go of self. I discussed with the students about what they thought of my teaching methods. I listened to their suggestions, and later, I asked them to vote on a way that was acceptable for the majority of them. I also promised that I would follow the result of the vote. After that class, I felt that a greater part of the karma between the students in that class and myself had been reduced. It felt as if a huge wall had collapsed totally.

After a while, one day I ran into their instructor in the bicycle shed. We both were a bit embarrassed. I let go of self and started talking: “Teacher XX, I have made some changes to my English class. I have no idea if the students have had any objections? If they do, please let me know.” At that moment, the instructor felt my compassion. He also said: “Teacher YY, I don’t know what methods you have used to make the students no longer hate your class, but please don’t push yourself too hard…” Suddenly, I felt the wall between us was reduced.

However, it had not finished yet. There were no more problems in regards to this class (which was the one that was the biggest challenge), but there were still some other classes which had different problems. One morning in a teacher’s meeting the Principal said, “Everyone, when you get back to your classroom, please tell your students not to criticize teachers on the Internet because of the legal issues involved…” At that time, I imagined that it must have had something to do with me. After the meeting, when I returned to my classroom, I used my name as a search term on my computer, and I saw that some students had attacked me on the Internet indeed, which made me depressed again because I felt this directly struck my heart. However, I immediately realized that this must be related to some factors to do with my cultivation. Therefore, I reinforced my will and read through the content from the students involved. I benevolently asked her to delete it, regardless of the fact that she could get into trouble legally, although I would let it pass. Later, I found that I really didn’t mind that much. In addition, I treated the students as usual and gradually their grievances towards me disappeared as well.

Because there were 10 classes in grade 5 and 6, I always tried to cultivate myself strictly to make up for some things which I haven’t done well with previously. Among all the classes in grade 6, there was one with big problems; there were a few girls who had bad attitudes towards me. This situation lasted for a long time—until the last ten days in May when our school had a volleyball competition and students from another school came to compete. In the classroom, the students were clamouring to watch the match and they didn’t want to have class. The graduation exams for grade 6 were coming soon in June and our class was not finished yet. I was about to stop them from watching the volleyball at once, when I thought to change my approach and said: “It’s ok. We will still have class, but we can finish early, and you can watch the match as soon as we finish.” Consequently, the class order was better than usual. When they were watching the teams play, they were still happy although the formal match had already finished. I also found that the invisible gap between my students and myself was immediately reduced a lot with our natural chat.

One day it happened to rain hard when school was over. Because many students had no umbrellas, they had to wait in a school building. I always put an umbrella in my bag, so I didn’t worry too much about the rain. I was supposed to leave, but I didn’t. I noticed that some students were running towards the bicycle shed, but there was no difference between it and the other school building for them to wait in. Because there were no buildings between them, some students had to run to the bicycle shed in the heavy rain. I started taking the students one by one from the teaching building to the bicycle shed (it was unlikely for teachers to do this). In order to do this, I walked back and forth numerous times and even lent my umbrella to a student because I also had a raincoat which was enough for me to ride my bicycle. These things didn’t matter much to me, but from then on I felt the invisible wall between myself and a few classes had collapsed.

Mid-June was graduation time for grade 6. The school’s yearbook was distributed a few days before graduation. Almost every student from grade 6 asked for my signature. I couldn’t imagine this 3 months before. During this time, I kept looking inward and thinking of how I could make things better, which not only changed my students, but also changed myself. Although that was a hard time, it was also the period in which I had improved fastest during my 9 years of teaching.

Because I was a substitute teacher, the day when the school administrative meeting was held was the last working day for me in that semester. After the meeting, I met the teacher who scolded me in front of his students, and I stepped forward to say, “Thank you.” He politely replied, “No worries, no worries. I didn’t do anything, but finally you got through.” I said with a smile, “Yes, I really got through it!” I really thanked him, and thanked Master who had provided me with the opportunities to improve, and also made my personality and temper change radically. I try my best to keep in mind Master’s words: “I have not only taught you Dafa, but have also left you my demeanor. While working, your tone of voice, your kindheartedness, and your reasoning can change a person’s heart, whereas commands never could!” (“Clearheadedness,” Essentials For Further Advancement)

With what I have been through, I feel that I was experiencing a transformation. I sincerely thank Master for His merciful arrangements. Otherwise, I would have never realised that I had such big problems. I also appreciate Master’s Fa guiding me and helping me to break through layer upon layer and eliminate many attachments. Luckily, I didn’t bring shame on Dafa, and I will walk on the path of practicing Dafa openly and with dignity.

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