Tag Archives: Student

He is why I teach.

Over the summer, I hung up my teacher identity and gave myself space for everything else.  Travel, writing, life.  Today marks the return of teaching, as I sit typing at our teacher retreat up in Tahoe, where we bond and gain strength for the year ahead.  I’ll be honest, I was dreading this shift, but just like the change in seasons, it was inevitable.  Now, it’s time to make the best of it.

The good news is that the retreat works.  It reminds me why I teach.  We always begin the same way, by reflecting on why we make so many sacrifices for the children we serve.

This time, my principal put up two pictures.  Of the 400+ students at our school, she chose one of mine.  He was my biggest challenge, but he also stole my heart.  Looking at his mischievous, smiling face, I was asked to reflect on what his picture means to me in front of the group.  I could hardly hold back tears.  This student makes me feel proud to be a teacher, proud that I have not given up when it has gotten hard.  After all, in just ten short years, he has had it much harder than I can put into words here.  Harder than I will ever truly understand, I’m sure.  But, since I first met him last August, he has grown, and so have I.

I’m reinvigorated, maybe even ready for the students to return next week.  One of the best things about my job is that I get to loop with the same kids for two years, so as they move from fourth to fifth grade, so do I.  This makes me happy because that student will be mine again.  I’ll get to watch him grow some more and I’m sure he’ll teach me more about patience in the process.  He’ll test me and I’ll test him.  Together we’ll get better at school and life.

He is why I teach.

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A Happy Little Story…

Today was one of those days that I remembered why I like teaching.  Please understand, there are many days that I forget.  Between challenging behaviors, long hours, and pressure to have high test scores, it can be easy to lose sight of why I chose this profession.

Today I remembered.

After school, I work with a group of students that need extra academic support.  One student, a girl who is routinely behaviorally challenging and does not easily express herself with words, did not feel like learning.  It was too much hard work.  As the other students worked away at converting fractions to decimals on their white boards, she gave up.

However, our little group decided that we were not leaving her behind.  She had to do the hard work whether she liked it or not because we believed she could.  Still, she didn’t believe in herself.

To sweeten the deal, I told the students we would have a party if she could figure it out.  Reluctantly, she and another student went to the back of the room and worked diligently for twenty minutes.  They called me back.  She still could not do it.

I told them to keep working, and they did, until finally she was able to show me she that understood.  The look on her face told me she was proud.  We were all proud.  The students cheered, the CD player flew on, and we danced, and laughed, and played catch with their stuffed class mascot, a Husky.

Still, the student was quiet.  She was too busy doing something to join us.  I didn’t know what it was.  Then, she appeared, proudly holding up what she had typed on her Barbie laptop, her show-and-tell for the day:

Mrs. M, You’re Nice.

I smiled, she smiled, then she joined the dance party.  The afternoon light soaking through my windows, happy children dancing because they were proud to learn and help each other, I felt happy.  I danced too.

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