Friday, December 31, 2010

"Miss, I Screwed Up"

Years ago I taught an Adaptive Behavior Class.  The class consisted of students whose behavior was so inappropriate they were not allowed to attend regular classes.  One day a new student, John was added to the class with special instructions from the administration.  He was to earn his way back to regular classes one class at a time. 

After three weeks of excellent behavior in my class I allowed him to attend one class of his choice, returning to the ABC unit at the end of the period.  On the third day of the schedule John returned muttering, "That stupid teacher."  I knew his behavior had been unacceptable so I asked what happened.  He told me.  The privilege of attending a regular class was removed for three more weeks.  When John was allowed to return to a regular class, he lasted three days before displaying inappropriate behavior.  This pattern was repeated so many times that I began to believe he would never learn what he needed to do.

One day John returned to the ABC unit with a strange look on his face.  He entered quietly and went straight to his seat where he sat silently for several minutes.  Suddenly he looked up at me and said, "Miss, I screwed up." 

I looked at my aide and asked, "Did you hear that?"  Excitedly she answered that she had heard. 

John looked at us like we had lost our minds and said, "You're happy I screwed up?" 

I explained that everyone screws up and that the only difference in the students in my class and the ones in regular classes is the ability to admit their mistakes.

What a privilege to be able to go to Christ and say, "I screwed up" knowing we will receive understanding and forgiveness. 
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