Never put the gasoline right next to the fire. (aka the parent/teacher conference)

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.


Boom, indeed.


ChiTown Girl said...

You better knock it off, or you gonna make me miss my little monsters!!

Vodka Mom said...

Awww. And I needed it. I haven't been feeling myself as of late. They have been kicking my @$$. And I've been YELLING. But apparently the kids haven't NOTICED....

Brian Miller said...

boom...great job VM...you know you are the reason he loves to come to school...that rocks...

noexcuses said...

Boom, boom, boom. You teach them to be fireworks. Sometimes it just takes one person who believes in them spirits them out to conquer the world. Kudos to you!

quiltmom anna said...

You so get what kindergarten is like- I love how you talk about the daily struggles and the funny things that happen- I see lots of the same happenings in my kindergarten class. I am really fortunate to have a gifted teaching assistant. We make a great team and she loves our kids for what they are not what they are not.. that's the human ness of teaching or teaching from the heart..
Thanks for sharing.
Warmest regards from Western Canada,

Anonymous said...

Awwwwwww, I love this! You are so lucky, and your kids are so lucky too. Great job!

Mary in MI

Anne said...

A perfect post for me to read before I head into my PT conferences next week. Can't wait to hear more of ??????????? Hanging on, waiting, yep still waiting.... don't make me hold my breath....

Linda M. said...

Oh, after the day I had yesterday at conferences, I really need to read your post!! One of my goals is always to build or encourage a love of school. For this year's class I've had to focus on listening (and sitting, working, leaving others alone, being kind, walking in a line instead of a blob....) It's leaving me very tired. Thanks for reminding me why I work so hard!!

Can't wait to hear about the other stuff!!!!

Mrs. Goff's Pre-K Tales said...

This is why we teach...for what you do for all those little matches. And it feels good when it's recognized (particularly when we recognize it ourselves).

Anonymous said...

I can see how you are keeping us focused on the . . . classroom - as other equally challenging parts of your life unfold.

Cherish your moments with both worlds and share only when you are ready.
Happy holiday weekend to all,
faithful follower

Expat mum said...

I've been lucky enough as a parent to always have teachers like you. It makes such a difference when you know that the teacher is there every day because it's what s/he wants to be doing, rather than just as a means to make a living.

Angela said...

Your students are so very lucky to have you. Wish you had taught my son when he was in Kindergarten...let's just say his teacher didn't really understand little boys...and taught for over 30 years?!! I know teaching is extremely challenging and difficult and most days you are probably ready to admit defeat, but you don't. I'm so glad you received such amazing affirmation that what you are doing really does matter and you are making a huge difference. Bravo!

Notes From ABroad said...

Pass me a tissue please ?
How different my life would have been if I had had a teacher like you when I was so young, small and vulnerable.
love you.

Anonymous said...

It is a wonderful moment. Especially when it comes on a day that you were convinced the inmates had successfully taken over the asylum. Also, can I just say that I couldn't agree more with your attitude. I have a class that did not start with me and in the beginning I lost track of the times I was given a look of the utmost sympathy and a "God bless you." I start everyday by telling them not only what I expect of them, but that they WILL achieve it because they are good and smart kids that are capable not only of what I am asking of them but of so much more, and now my inmates are touted left and right as the best of the lot. Kids give you what you give them so kudos to you for giving the most spirited faith and perseverance. ~ M

SkylersDad said...

That is so awesome, you are just wonderful!

liz said...

Beautiful post. You are part of a very noble profession, a dedicated loving teacher is priceless! Thank you!

Vodka Mom said...

but let's all remember that I usually @(#*# up at least ONCE a day.

Keeps a nice balance to things....

gretchen said...

Ah! You are the kind of teacher we all wish our kids had! My son's class (it's a tiny parochial school, with only ONE class per grade) is the one you're talking about. Boy heavy. Loud. Boisterous. But smart, smart, smart. A real challenge to teachers. And I find it fascinating that even though they are a handful, and are constantly a disciplinary problem, the teachers always LOVE them, because they're just so excited all the time. Makes me SUPER thankful for loving, invested teachers like you!

Vodka Mom said...

Oh Gretchen, those are my favorite ones! Well, to be honest I love them all, but I find the loud unruly ones to be so close to my heart. I was one of THEM, and so are my own children!!


Ellie Mae said...

Awesome, just awesome!

LegalMist said...

I wish my high-energy, push-the-envelope, bright-and-difficult-and-lovable son had a teacher like you....

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