It's hard to believe I am going into my sixth year of teaching. How did time go so fast? My first year students are starting junior high, and I am just hoping and praying they do well. I think I'll always worry and wonder about my kiddos. I hope they still remember me when they get older. I'd like to think they would come back and visit me.
That's one of the rewarding parts of being a teacher; knowing that you had a part in their lives and hoping that you've impacted their lives for the better in some way. I know they've certainly enriched mine. I remember my first year of teaching and how nervous I was. I was so clueless about curriculum and time management. I remember just nodding in meetings and pretending like I knew what DRA and ED stood for.
I was just trying to survive my first year.
Fast forward a few years, and sometimes I still feel like I don't have it together. But in a way, I think that's good. Because it keeps me on my toes. I don't get complacent. Some things have gotten easier with time and experience; I know how to utilize class time better, classroom management is my strength (thanks to the teacher I was with when I student taught), and small group instruction is becoming more comfortable. Still, I have an opportunity to grow even more this year. I am apprehensive, but also motivated to do my best this year and be great, not just good.
I know it's hard sometimes. I get tired of staying at school until 7 and grading mountains of papers. I get impatient when kids don't listen and drown you out. I get upset when parents expect so much and don't understand my point of view. I am frustrated when people think teaching is easy and they look down on me. But I honestly believe teaching is one of the most rewarding careers there is. And it's because of the kids.
Who gets a hug for giving a piece of paper? Or gets told several times a day that you're pretty? Who gets called 'mom' on accident and gets a song and dance show at recess? Or gets to experience them have that look, like a light turning on in their head when they learn something new? Who gets called talented when drawing a stick figure on the board? Or at the beginning of the year, gets told she hates math, and at the end of the year, says she loves it? I do. A teacher does.
I think back to my own teachers. I wish I had taken the time to appreciate them. Because now I know what they did. I understand now. So this is for all my teachers especially the ones that went above and beyond being just a teacher. You were the teacher that showed compassion and gave me confidence in myself. You made me love rolly pollies and wrote me back on stationary. You had a reading tent and listened to me. You gave me joy in music and a nickname. You were the one who sparked my love for reading and writing. You taught me in case of an emergency, to put low batteries under your arms for heat to electrical energy transfer. You cultured my passion for art and painting. You taught me to believe in myself and not let stereotypes or the way I look hold me back.
Thank you Mrs. Peters, Mrs. Molly, Mrs. Babb, Ms. Hall, Mrs. Turner, and the countless others that shaped my life. One day I hope to be a part of that list.
To all the teachers out there starting tomorrow.. Happy first day!