Today is the last day of school. And may I say….. FINALLY!! We were the last district in the state, from my understanding, to get out of school. It’s been a long year, and in some ways, the most difficult year of my career. The last month alone has done unspeakable damage to my poor beat up digestive system. But as I sit here right now, watching my last class take their last exam, my thoughts aren’t even on the summer ahead….. My thoughts are on them.

The children.

These are eighth graders. They don’t think of themselves as children and get very annoyed when others do. But they are, like it or not. And they’re precious: Every. Single. One. Of them.

The boy who came up each day and gave me a convoluted summary of whatever he’d read the day before? Even when I was obviously busy? Yep.

The girl who would NOT pick her head up off the desk and only turned in the bare minimum of what was asked of her? Yep.

The boy who announced almost daily that he was quitting as soon as he got to the legal age and did virtually nothing in class (except, I think, try to recruit gang members)? Yep.

I also had a boy, failing almost all classes, who found a book this year. A first-time-ever experience – a book that he loved and walked out of my class one day, literally with it in front of his face. He tells me it’s the first time he’s finished a book. The first words he spoke directly to me were, “Can I check this out?” YES!!!!!

I also had a girl discover her inner writer. She’s been working on the same story all year in our free-choice writing time. That, my dear, I told her, is a NOVEL! Should have seen that beaming face…..

I have tried for years to get a graduate degree, but God closed the door each time. I have tried for years to get a different job, but God closed the door each time. When I asked him tearfully why He wouldn’t let me do those things, He had me look at my classroom – at all those wiggly, spacey third graders, all those insecure, prepubesent sixth and seventh graders, and all these sullen and sarcastic (as my teacher friend defined them) eighth graders – and He showed me the answer.

They’re enough. My other goals are for me, but when it comes down to it, these guys are enough. I read, attend training, and continue to teach myself about my craft. No fancy letters after my name for that, but I know the difference it makes. And they’re worth it. Even those days I want to pinch their heads off.

How is it that people go through their lives and don’t give a thought to the children? Theirs or others’? Aren’t they what it’s all about? Aren’t they our most precious resource?

That’s why I’m a teacher. And thankful for it.

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9 thoughts on “Thoughtful Thursday

  1. BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO!!!!! for teachers like you Linda. You inspire many children & adults. You are not just an amazing teacher, but an amazing person as well. My grandbabies have loved spending time with you. They light up at the words “baby Nana night”. God bless you as He has blessed those who’s lives you touch!

  2. Listen to me when I say that they are BLESSED to have you as a teacher. Who knows how many will one day say that they have you to thank for the adult that they become. You are one of the rare teachers that looks past the demands of curriculum, district goals and pressures, state testing and grades and actually SEES the children behind the textbooks. You’re perfect for teaching this age group, because you’ve never allowed yourself to forget how difficult and confusing those years are. And those children need someone who can see past their sullen sarcasm and see THEM behind all of it.

    You completely rock. This is has been such a tough year, and you’ve made it!

  3. I cant even begin to count the many times Ive asked the same question. I am always so thankful for teachers like you . Believe me Iam on the other end the kids who verbally going to finish school and go to college but in reallity I pray they just graduate . Teenagers know when a teacher or an adult care and it as iam positive that changes there whole life.

    1. Thanks, Patty. The encouraging words from friends and family sure help in a job that’s generally pretty thankless. Thank you for being the kind of parent teachers wish they had a LOT more of!!

  4. You are the only person I know that makes me miss teaching!!! They are precious, every one of them. The one who pretended to be Mork and sat with his head in his seat. Yes. The one who shied away from me when I tried to put my arm around him. Yes (and he broke my heart…he thought I was going to hit him.) The one who did a great impression of Stevie Wonder. Yes. And it goes on and on. Thanks for reminding me why I taught for 20 years!!

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