I know. It’s Wednesday. But a point from a recent class makes me think of Tuesday.Working with a hands-on lab, demo-driven with student exercises. It’s a long class and keeping up and attentive is hard for students and instructor alike. One particular student was having trouble. I poured the energy into staying with them, made extra stops by their table, smiled until my face hurt, and did everything to keep them current. But the questions kept coming. And coming. About half the time, the question was something I had just covered. Other students began to roll their eyes. People began to grow impatient. One student even fired a salvo of sarcasm at the slow student. And things still didn’t speed up.At the end of a long day, I was past Turn Four and headed for the finish. All I wanted to do was sit down after standing all day. I had only about 10 minutes to go, and everyone wanted things to finish up. And–you can probably see this one coming–there were more questions. Except this time I had just gone over the sequence of steps excruciatingly slow, repeated them three times, asked the student directly if things were OK, made a comment about “you’ll want to make sure…” and still… The question(s) came.My first and natural response would be to fire out a wad of sardonic humor. My wife of 3566 days says that Sarcasm is my love language. And I wanted to SOOOOO bad. And yet I didn’t. I smiled with every ounce of energy I had left, walked them through the steps, and limped to the finish line exhausted.And man, did that feel weird. It wasn’t until after class was over that I realized I passed a test. I could have sabotaged everything I had worked for with a 10-second barrage that most people would have agreed I was entitled to let go. But I gained so much more by applying grace in the situation instead.
Graciousness is never out of place.