The Blog of Cafe Dissensus Magazine – we DISSENT

How to be a compassionate teacher?

By Aastha Singh

“A loving, caring teacher took a liking to me. She noticed the potential and wanted to help shape it” – Tom Bradley

To what extent can a Teacher be compassionate? The question disturbs my mind as I feel the pain on the little finger in my right hand. I freaked out when Sunny hit me so badly in front of his classmates with his filled Tupperware water-bottle that it fractured my little finger. I stood numbed for some time. But what made Sunny hate me so much? He said to the Principal – who asked him about his objectionable behavior – “She scolded me one day during lunch break.”

One day Aman came crying bitterly and said, “Miss, I went to Sunny’s class to see my friend, when he banged the door on my head.” I saw the pain in Aman’s tear-filled eyes. I walked straight to VI-B and charged Sunny, “Why did you hit Aman?” I knew I would be the next person to get beaten up by him. So I softened my voice instantly and said, “You are a good boy, aren’t you? Then why do you hit your friends so badly?” I didn’t dare say a single word beyond that as I could sense his intention of pouncing on me. Therefore, I left.

Today it was his turn to take revenge upon this teacher, who scolded him months ago. “Good morning Miss,” wished the class. “Bad morning Miss,” said a voice after that! That was Sunny, I saw. I ignored and turned around to attend to someone, who entered the class. That was when Sunny rushed behind me to attack. The lady who I was attending to ran outside the class and that helped me realize something went wrong behind me.

As I turned, Sunny banged the door and I was standing outside. “Should I enter on not?” I was confused! I dared to go in, realizing it was my duty to be in the class for the next half-an-hour. Sunny hated to see me getting inside. I went in and found myself being beaten and kicked by my student. He is a ten-year-old boy, who is angry with his teacher.  All I could do is hold his hands tight and push him towards his place. He sat there irate over me. With a heart full of love for my students, I went ahead to pacify Sunny with a smile. “It’s OK Sunny. No problem. Let’s be friends now. Come on, shake hands with me,” I said offering him a warm hand-shake. That was a mistake I committed. “Alright, give me a Five!” Bang! He gave me a Five with his water bottle! “Oops! You are a strong boy,” I exclaimed with a smile. “What did your mother mix with your milk this morning? Bournvita?” He shook his head to say no. “Complan?” I added. The boy sitting with Sunny smiled.

I lifted my head to find the class smiling at the conversation and I lost track of Sunny’s next aggressive movement. He banged his bottle again on my right hand as I had placed my hands before him on his desk. I smiled with pain and took his bottle away. That was it! Sunny jumped out of his place and charged at me. As I held his hands again in defense, I heard a sound, “kruck”. I saw the uppermost joint of my right hand little finger left the tip hanging from it. I knew my finger was broken and I panicked, “Oh my God, how will I take care of my two little daughters at home? How will I handle my chores at home?”

“You are not supposed to hit your teacher,” I yelled as I pushed Sunny back to his place the second time. He would not give up this time and climbed on the bench behind him. He stood up there as we exchanged fierce looks with each other. I knew the moment I looked elsewhere he would jump on me. I was scared but I didn’t want Sunny to have the proud feeling of winning over another teacher that entered his class. There have been a series of such incidences in VI-B, where Sunny would beat up the teachers, students and other school staffs, who would enter his classroom, except for the regular class teachers. He was the lion in his den. He could attack anyone whom he disliked for no reason. But this time he had a reason for disliking another teacher! The supervisor entered my class and asked me to leave. Sunny showed his anger at me as he took his place. “Next time you hit me, then, you see what I do to you,” I said angrily. Looks like I’ve invited him for another attack very soon!!

I was in pain as I walked down the stairs. I felt the pain more in my heart than on my broken finger. I burst into tears. “I never expected this out of life,” I thought. I could not control myself as I cried bitterly. Sunny is a special child, I learnt from other teachers. He suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). No wonder, the ten-year-old boy didn’t  understand the difference between the right and the wrong. The sudden trigger of emotions did not even make him realize he was hurting someone or himself.

Isn’t he treading a wrong path by being so violent with people around him? Will it not lead him to becoming socially outcast in future? I am worried for my student. “How can I help him? Or should I just ignore him and the concern that is bothering me?” After all, it’s easier to get used to something and move on in life. “I am a teacher and I am supposed to teach; so let me be worried only with completing my portion for the year,” I thought. What would you say?

I am having sleepless nights, as I am perplexed. Day and night I see the child’s face seeking help from me. “Can I bring about the desired behavioral change in him?” I wonder. I am a mother, along with being a teacher, and therefore, it pains my heart to see the child seeking love and approval from people around him. As if he wants others to say, “He is a good boy.”  His response – “She scolded me during the lunch break” – shows he hated being wronged by his teacher before the class.

Sunny is special; but I will have to help him realize he is actually special. Let me see to what extent I am able to succeed in my secret mission.


Aastha Singh is a teacher by profession and writer by passion. Her writing has previously appeared in Morsels and Juices & Learning and Creativity.

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