Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Worth It All

I don't think love is a strong enough word to describe how I feel about teaching.   True, I have only student taught this far, but I know in the deepest part of my soul that I was meant to teach.  It's a conviction so strong that I can never fully explain how teaching makes me feel.  Do you feel that way too?

I am taking a week long class (professional development at its finest) and I have been thinking about key moments during my student teaching experience that really solidified this calling for me.  A few weeks after I had taken over teaching every subject, my wonderful master teacher Jane had to go to a conference for two days.  Legally she had to get a guest teacher, but I was the one teaching all the material for those two days.

The first day was a-maz-ing.  The entire day went so smoothly and we just had a rockin' day!  I called Jane completely ecstatic to let her know just how fantastic the day really was.

Then the second day arrived. 

It was terrible.  The kids were unruly and the day just became a downward spiral ending in tears.  Ever been there before?  My second phone conversation with Jane was a complete 180 from the previous day.  But at the end of our conversation I told her "you know, even though today was completely awful, I can't wait to come back tomorrow and start again."  And you know what?  I meant it with my whole heart.  I had already started thinking of new ways to handle situations that came up and I was already revamping my lessons to better suite the needs of the classroom.  I think that's when you know you found where you're supposed to be.  At the end of a terrible, awful day, you still want to come back and do it again tomorrow!

We never had another day quite as bad as that one, but when I had had a particularly long day, I would think of that moment, put on my big girl pant(ies) and keep movin' forward.

Another memory that I often find in the front of my mind is from my very last day of student teaching.  Now, let's back track for a second.  I had one boy in my class who craved attention with every fiber of his being.  I knew from my master teacher that he didn't get his fill of attention at home and he was constantly looking for it from me.  Sometimes it would be sweet little notes or comments about how much he loved me as his teacher.  Other days it would be refusing to do his work or starting quarrels with other students.  Do you know the kiddo I'm talking about?  The one that makes you want to pull your hair out and take him home all at the same time.  Fast forward back to my last day of school

The students were coming up to give me cards and little presents, and B came up with tears in his big sad eyes and handed me this note. . .

Doesn't that just melt your heart?  Well it sure melted mine!  I started crying and gave that sweet boy a great big hug!!   While I know he would have learned if I hadn't been his teacher, to know I made an impact on this little person struck me to my core.  As teachers we are blessed with such a special gift to be a part of these little one's lives, even if it's only for a year (or in my case one semester).  But the impact we can have on these kiddos is truly astounding. Mushy mushy gushy I know, but in all seriousness?  Teachers make a difference, so keep up the phenomenal work.


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