Teacher trouble

Originally appeared online in the teen series Your Healings -  December 14, 2021.

I was dreading my physics class. At my school, everyone is required to select a “pathway,” which includes specific classes based on a topic of interest. I chose the green energy pathway. All of the students in that pathway are required to take physics with the same teacher. I’d heard from previous students that she was a tough teacher, so I started the class with low expectations.

Having a negative attitude made the first quarter hard, especially since this was my first semester of online-only classes. I was easily frustrated by the assignments the teacher was giving us, and I had trouble reaching her outside of class because she rarely checked her emails. 

Having a negative attitude made the first quarter hard.

The first few weeks, I tried to minimize our interactions. Fortunately, at the same time, I was having weekly calls with my Sunday School teacher, and I decided to talk to her about this problem. She said I could focus on the Golden Rule from Jesus’ teachings in the Bible. The Golden Rule instructs us to treat others the way we want to be treated. My Sunday School teacher suggested that I think about others the way I would want them to think about me. She told me to try to think of one positive thing about my teacher every time I had her class. I’d learned in Christian Science Sunday School that it is important to see people as God sees them—as lovable and good, not as flawed individuals who need to be better—so that’s what I tried to do with my physics teacher.

The next time I had physics class, I prayed and tried to recognize some positive things about her, but I found it extremely challenging. Every time I would notice a positive thing, I would also think of ten negative things. I felt like I wasn’t making any progress, but by this time, the semester was over anyway.

Still, I knew I would have to face this teacher again the next semester, so I kept trying to find a spiritual answer. In my Sunday School class, one of the ideas we discussed was what seeing the world with “spiritual goggles” would do to change your perspective. “Spiritual goggles” help us see people the way God created them—instead of based on surface appearances and negative impressions. Relying on God’s perspective helps us move past seeing the bad in someone to seeing only the best qualities—spiritual qualities—in them. 

I decided I would try this. I thought of some positive qualities my teacher expressed, such as intelligence, attention to detail, passion for her subject, patience, and willingness to trust her students to come up with creative solutions. I also had the idea to change my attitude and my approach to the class.

Relying on God’s perspective helps us move past seeing the bad in someone to seeing only the best qualities—spiritual qualities—in them. 

As soon as physics began again, I started participating more and attending the teacher’s online office hours each week to deepen my knowledge of what we were covering in class. My teacher really responded to this big change and even gave me her personal email address and phone number so I could reach her outside of class. We became better acquainted, and she even sent me internship opportunities for the summer. 

Praying and looking only for the good helped me move past my critical, frustrated attitude and one-sided view to see that she was a good teacher who wanted only the best for her students. With this shift in thinking, I was able to stop judging her and instead see her as a child of God.

I’m glad we are back to in-person classes this school year, and it was fun to finally meet this teacher face to face. I hope to apply what I’ve learned to my education in college and to any rocky relationships I may encounter in the future. This experience taught me that Christian Science brings a different and healing perspective.

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