Something weird happened yesterday.

I was driving back from Target to my apartment

and a Brad Paisley song came on the radio.

I sang along, because I always sing in the car,

but before I knew it, I was uncontrollably teary eyed.

Why?

The song randomly reminded me of a few of my former students,

which is weird, because the song was about his son.

But I guess the lyrics made me feel a little motherly towards them,

and it just hit me that I can’t take care of them anymore.

They are out in the world.

And I felt sad for a minute.

Will they forget me?

Will they remember all the life lessons I tried so desperately to teach them?

But then I felt lucky.

My school campus hosts a K-5 school, and a 6-12 school.

Which means many of my students will leave my door

to other classrooms across campus until they are seniors.

I get to see them evolve and grow into real people.

I can’t even imagine the teachers that say goodbye in June

and are left wondering, “What ever happened to ______?”

After a long week of parent-teacher conferences,

there is nothing better than leaving work on Friday

knowing there are non-school related plans for the weekend.

But despite all the long hours, the challenges, and the stress,

it’s these kids that make everything worth it.

In particular, a former student who probably averaged two trips to the office a month

in the course of two years being my student.

The one who slammed the door and said

“This school is ridonkulous” on her first trip there.

But so far this school year, has not been sent to the office once.

And when I saw her after school this week to congratulate her,

her smile of accomplishment made me melt.

And then again when she said, “It’s hard!” with a smile.

I always knew she could do it.

I do this work for her.

And then there was another one.

The one who always found himself among the troublemakers,

but had a potential to be something greater.

Who was far below grade level, but left my class approaching advanced.

Who knew a little responsibility is all he needed?

He needed to feel needed.  He needed to feel like he had a purpose.

Little by little, he transformed from a troublemaker to a leader.

Doing little jobs for me around the classroom.  Doing things when he knew I forgot.

He, too, continues to grow without me.

Today he came to visit me before school

just to ask me to sign a recommendation form for a classroom job.

“Teacher’s Assistant.”

How perfect!

Of course I signed it, and filled out all the lines under “Comments about this student.”

These are just two of the students I do this work for.

To watch them grow, and hope I’ve made an impact on them.

Don’t get me wrong, my new class of students are wonderful!

But for me, the satisfaction in teaching sometimes comes from the after-fact.

To see what I’ve taught in action.

To see that they really did learn something.

Here’s the song that started all the reminiscing…

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