They say the days are long and the years are short. These words are usually shared when speaking of one's own children. But if you are a teacher your own children are all the children who have passed through the doors of any classroom you have taught in.
A good teacher builds a family with their classroom from August to May. I work daily to make sure "my children" know that we are a family and we respect each other and we take care of each other.
I don't take for granted that my students will respect me. I work hard to truly earn their respect because I earned it not because mom or dad said they had to.
A good teacher knows when "their child" is happy or sad. You know when "your child" is afraid or is doubting themselves. You learn the looks or "that face".
If you have been following my blog posts for the last few years you know I always write about my class at the end of the year. This year, the end of the year has a different meaning (stay tuned).
"My kiddos" cried A LOT! In fact, they started 30 minutes before our end of the year mass began...and for some, they cried the whole mass...and then cried some more when we hugged goodbye. One dad that I ran into at the grocery store said... "In case you're wondering our daughter stopped crying just 15 minutes ago." That was 3 days after the last day.
As much as those little ones are impacted by the relationships built in our one year in 1A, so am I. In fact, I wonder often about some of my little ones for years.
I could take you back to 1991 and tell you about Antwain. My first year teaching and this 7th grader stole my heart. I wonder if he made it out of poverty, I wonder if he is employed or homeless. Crazy right? Or I could take you to 1993 and tell you about Jose. He was a part of my Varying Exceptionalities/English as a Second Language classroom. He learned to write his name as an 8th grader that year. Huge celebration and accomplishment.
Over the years I have been in and out of the classroom. In 1995, I left the classroom for the first time. I moved into a position that would be referred to today as a staffing specialist. I had 12 schools I serviced.
In 1998, I started working privately with students so I could be a mom to my girl.
In 2002, I found myself back in the classroom and in a new city. I started by working in pre-k and subbing in K-8 classrooms.
In 2004, I left again, this time to be a mom.
In 2009, I found myself back in my own classroom. And I have been there for the last 10 years. Albeit, three different classrooms. The last 6 years have been in my 1A room. The longest I have ever been in one room or one grade.
Now, in 2019, I am leaving the classroom again. I have mixed emotions. I love having my own classroom. I love bonding and building relationships with my students. Relationships that continue for years. Look at my FB and you will see students from the '90s and even students from the millennium from my subbing days. Some students have even become colleagues. Come by my classroom door and you will see students from all grade levels eager to show me their progress or achievements. Over the years I have gone to their birthday parties, 1st communion, graduations, funerals, etc...
God must give us teachers hearts made of elastic so it can stretch to continue to fit more kiddos in it.
Now my heart will stretch further to fit even more kiddos. Now I will continue to build children up. Now I hope I can make a larger difference. I am headed into a new role at school. I will be heading back to my roots and working with those students who need the most support. I will be working with children across several grades. I will be supporting my colleagues to do what they do best as teachers. I am excited, but I would be lying if I didn't admit I will miss the littles coming in every morning thinking I was the Queen of Ever After and that I am just 15 years old. LOL!
Wife, Mom, Educator and Lifelong Learner