I actually mean teaching, but yes, this blog too! I have been bad at making time to write on here because life has just been insane. Truly. Finishing up the end of the year for teachers is nuts. Plus boys playing sports (three between the two of them), soccer tryouts, Olivia horseback riding…the list was endless. But now, I’m up at 6:30 while the kids are still sleeping to write and drink coffee. Bliss! I hope some of you are still out there…
This year of teaching was amazing. I feel like I got a piece of myself back. Even though I was teaching online, it just wasn’t the same. Seeing those kids each and every day and interacting with them is what makes the job amazing. I was worried when I went back to teaching that I lost whatever I had the first time around. I was 10 years older and the kids were younger…would I be able to relate to them any more? My favorite part about teaching is the kids…their stories, their energy, their innocence, their love of learning and new things. If I couldn’t relate to them anymore, my favorite part about teaching would be gone. But then I remembered my favorite quote about teaching:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”
― John C. Maxwell
If I cared, and showed them that I cared, it wouldn’t matter if I was 38 instead of 22 and a mom with a little extra around her middle that doesn’t shop at Forever 21 and tried to teach them Pythagorean Theorem. Kids, teenagers especially, just want to be loved and listened to. And when I was worrying about if I still had my mojo for teaching in person, I forgot that. It only took me a week or two of teaching to realize I still had it. Of course I did. I love my students. I care about them. And they know it. And that’s when the magic happens. All of a sudden I had kids who hated math looking forward to my class. Not because of the math but because of my teaching. I had kids who gave up on learning math giving it another try. There were those who came out of their shell, who realized they might actually be successful at something. Not don’t be fooled, I’m not a total magician. I still had two or three that sat there all year, didn’t talk to me and were basically lumps on a log. But that’s ok. Two or three out of 120 isn’t bad, right? It felt so good to be back.
Around March Madness time, I let a group of kids stay in my room for lunch so they could watch the game. After that, they stayed. Two or three times a week I’d let them eat lunch in my room. They loved it. Sometimes they need a break from the cliques and craziness that come along with the cafeteria and I’m perfectly fine with providing them with a break. Plus, it gives me a chance to get to know them better while I’m quietly eating my salad at my desk and observing. Teenagers are still kids with worries and insecurities who just want someone to listen and love them. That’s all. I know that, I believe that and that’s why they trust me. Matt always wonders how I handle the teenage girl drama that enters my room every day. I tell him I can easily put myself right back in their shoes and remember how it feels. When a boy kisses you when you’re 13, you think you love him. When he likes your best friend the next week, it’s heartbreaking. I remember that.
At the end of the year, I received some letters from kids telling me I was their favorite teacher. I would rather have that than any gift any day. To know that I made a difference, even if it was just to give them a safe, happy place during the day where they *hopefully* learn a few things about math and being a good student, means everything to me. I certainly don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging, because trust me, not all of my students thought I was awesome, but what I’m trying to say is that it felt really wonderful to remember that I kick ass at something besides being a Mom. I wouldn’t trade the time at home teaching online for anything. I was here for my kids, I didn’t miss a thing and I’m so thankful for that. But, man, I really missed being a kickass teacher.
I taught 8th graders which means they go to the high school and I won’t see them very often. There were tears on the last day, from me and from them. I adored those kids and when they hugged me at graduation in front of all of their peers and their parents, I felt like a millionaire. I am back at it and I’m so happy!
I’m also super happy to have 10 weeks off!!! Thanks for sticking with me…for any of you that are still out there reading. 🙂