One of the worst things a teacher can encounter in the classroom is a universal issue not limited to students alone. People of all ages, races and background tend to struggle with this single, poisonous mentality. It is a “rot” that can creep in quietly, regardless of station in life. Teachers – especially those working with youth in the formative junior high years – see it regularly. It’s not apathy. One author called it “apathy on steroids.”
You don’t have to look far, don’t have to talk long, don’t have to watch carefully to see cynicism all around us. It’s displayed in countless ways by adults and youth alike. It takes many forms, but can most often be found in the mentality of “I simply don’t care.” Maybe it’s a reaction to the hurt that living in a fallen world can inflict. Maybe we use it as a way to shield our emotions from becoming too delicate and then trampled upon.
Whatever the reason, it is everywhere. And, as mentioned previously, teachers see this mentality on a daily basis in the classroom. So, then, this problem begs the question, “How do we, primarily as teachers, fight this?”
We could easily slide into the trap of believing that lectures and facts are the answer to motivating our children right out of the cynical state. But that isn’t the answer. The answer, often, lies in the stories around us. Very few teaching methods have the ability to motivate, captivate and draw-in our audience like stories.
Amy Henry, author of the article in World Magazine online entitled “Telling Tales of Heroes,” shares compelling evidence of the power of stories in her junior high classroom. Examples of “a light coming on” and “clearing my student’s glazed-over eyes” provide strong support of the power of stories in the classroom.
As Anthony Esolen writes, “A hero . . . is like a pack of dynamite, ready to blow any mountain of heaped-up conformity and dullness sky high.” We don’t have to look far to find heroes, both in fiction and in every-day life. A holiday such as Veterans Day, which we recently celebrated, can provide unlimited stories of heroism and bravery. The Bible is full of stories of ordinary men and women who performed extraordinary feats. Everyone around you has a story. It just might be that one of those stories is the catalyst that moves those around you (whether they be students, friends or family) from a life of cynicism to one of richness.
Look for the stories. They just might make all the difference in a student’s life.
Who We Are in the Christian School Community:
Heritage Christian Academy is a Pre-K through 12th grade Christian school with campuses in both Olathe and Overland Park, Kansas. We realize that there are many good options in Olathe/Overland Park for Christian school education. But, as the above post articulates, we are constantly looking for ways to keep our students engaged in the learning process. A student who learns to fight apathy and cynicism early in life is one who lives a healthy, productive adult life.
If you are interested in learning more about our school and its teachers who tirelessly work to bring about a lifelong love of learning in students , please visit our website at www.hcakc.org.