I adore the team of teachers with whom I teach.
We are all different in so many ways, but the same in so very many ways as well. We love what we do and each and every child in our class. We also love each other which, in my experience, is a unique and wonderful thing.
We eat lunch together in one of our classrooms every day, not because we are too good to eat in the faculty room but because after spending half a day in our loud and boisterous classrooms, our minds can’t take the loud and animated discussions that always occur in the teacher’s lounge.
Yesterday we talked about parent/teacher conferences and the children in our classrooms. My fellow teachers have watched me closely this year because they realized early on that I was the one who won the lottery. I ended up with many of the overly active, loud, unruly, spicy, challenging, incredible, wonderful, talkative children. And while I love each and every one from the bottom of my heart, when they’re all in the room it’s kind of like leaving a match RIGHT NEXT to a LARGE can of gasoline. It will always catch on fire.
While we were chatting, Ms. Perky turned to me and said, “You do have so many ACTIVE boys, Vodka. But you know what? You are so good with them. You allow them to be who they are.”
I’ve been weary as of late, and she reminded me with those words that it is a small price to pay for holding a child’s spirit safe from harm.
Today as each child marched into my room with their parents, I saw each of them for who they are: amazing, talented, bright and hard working kids who give me a reason to come to work each day. They have learned to read; write in their journals; to exchange ideas and then question those very ideas. They can problem solve, clean up after themselves, help their friends and make the teacher swell with pride when they accomplish something they knew they couldn’t.
The last conference of the day was with a young boy who pushes the envelope every single day. He lives life to the fullest, and usually invites anyone around him to join the party. He has also grown 100%, and is one the strongest readers and writers in the class. As I shared all that he had done and all that he produced, I had to stop the tears of pride that teachers have learned to hold back during these moments.
At this point, his mother looked at me. “We were so very worried to send him to school. He’s young, and doesn’t transition well. But he gets up every single morning and is excited to come to school; every single morning. He loves school, he loves his friends, and he loves you. We are so very, very happy, and honestly can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done.”
We each reached into the box of tissues that were conveniently sitting in the middle of the table and laughed together as we dabbed our eyes.
This is why I teach. Because this particular child, the one who I think hasn’t heard a word I say, has really heard ALL that I’ve said. And still loves school.