Battling Negativity in the Classroom

On a daily basis I witness interactions between teenagers. I witness harshness and competitiveness more than anything else between them as sad as that is to admit. Very rarely do I witness togetherness and kindness. The talk I hear in my classroom disgusts me at times. In between lectures when kids are supposed to be working on the assignment I have given them, I hear…”No, *name* doesn’t rap near as good as I do.“ “I lift more weights than he does.” “I think *name* is so much better at basketball. He scored more points than *name* the other day. There’s no way *name* can make it on the team.” I teach almost all guys. I always thought that girls were tough on each other, but I guess I didn’t realize the amount of competitiveness between guys too. Why do we feel the need to see the next person as our competition? Why can’t we see them for who they are…a human that deserves respect and love? We gossip and spread rumors sometimes unintentionally hurting others in the process. I hear negative comments about other teachers in my room which leads me to believe that all they can possibly be saying about me is negative as well. Much of what is said between them is discouraging and is meant to tear down instead of lift up. Before the end of the year is over, I’m actually going to bring this matter to their attention. What is discussed between a small group of people leaves that group until the larger population knows about the business discussed. If that business is nothing but negative, it can cause fights and broken relationships and friendships. Although I see this happening in my classroom and school grounds, it is only a reflection of what’s happening out in the world. But we can fight it. We need to go against the grain and instead of encouraging negativity, battle it with positivity. Show what it means to be positive, to love, and to respect another person. We are supposed to be followers of Christ and to be a reflection of God’s love that was made known to us. There may be mess and drama everywhere, but we have to be the ones who clean it up and start the change.