I am sitting in my classroom during what will likely be the only quiet minutes I have all day. I love getting to work early and getting the chance to enjoy just a few moments of complete silence. In twenty minutes, my 13 balls of energy will storm through the day. Half of the time I feel like I blink and the day is over. Binders, data sheets, velcro, hand sanitizer, task boxes, and dry erase markers fill my day. I never sit and often feel like I’ve literally spent the entire day running. There are zero moments of quiet.
The bad days seem to stick out more than the good ones. Everyone knows what the bad days are like. They usually end with an Olivia Pope size glass of wine & some serious self-doubt on my skills as a teacher. But let’s be real. It’s the good days we live for. It’s the good days that get us out of bed on Monday morning and keep us going strong those final few minutes on Friday afternoon. The good days to us may not seem like a good day to another teacher. Sometimes the moments that make a good day would be seemingly insignificant to another teacher. The simple joys of seeing your child check his schedule on his own for the first time, independently request chicken nuggets, write an entire sentence correctly, or without an adult prompting ask a peer to join them in a game. As a teacher when you have spent countless hours thinking about, planning, and working with that child on that skill – when they finally have that a-ha moment is just priceless.
This job is so much more emotional than I ever imagined it would be. My students are my kids. I’d protect them with the vicious defensiveness of a mama bear with her cub. I pity the kid that even dares to consider making fun of one of my kids. I irrationally lose all self-control to make sure that never.happens.again. When my 8th graders graduate, it’s extremely bittersweet. I’m excited for their next adventure in high school and am well aware I can’t be their teacher forever but I also can’t imagine another teacher loving them or caring about them as much as I do. I know that’s not true but at that time it feels so real. I can’t even imagine how parent feels send their child to school. It must be like that but times 1000.
I guess my ramblings haven’t completely come together in a cohesive point on this rainy Thursday morning. On Autism Awareness Day, I always tend to become a little self-reflective on this job and how my students have impacted my life. I encourage you to embrace the emotional aspect of this job. It’s easy to get caught up in data and lesson plans but at the end of the day we need to remember that we are responsible for the education of a human being. A child. Kids need to be loved, enjoyed, appreciated, and spoiled.
Enjoy those good days. Move beyond the bad days. Have hope and trust that your kids will excel when you are no longer with them. And most importantly – just love them a lot. And everything else will work out.
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