As the holidays approach, it’s time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of work and home and reflect on the things we are all blessed and thankful to have in our lives.
I’ve recently had a rough spell at work. I have five amazing students, and as individuals they are the coolest kids I know. As a group, however . . . Well, in the words of my social worker, “It is like putting Steven Tyler, John Lennon, and Michael Jackson in a band together. Great as individuals, but as a group, they might not make beautiful music.”
To put it in perspective, when I was out for professional development training, the sub (a seasoned teacher of ED/BD students) actually wrote “God bless you” at the bottom of her notes. When I was out sick a week later (from a barrage of germs that I was sure was the black plague), the decision was made to put TWO subs in my room. The adults ended up outnumbering the students.
So, as it’s the season of good tidings, I welcome the chance to reflect on what is good and positive in my job.
The other day, my class was making Thanksgiving crafts. One of my more challenging students had thrown a fit for 45 minutes that morning, and everyone was worn out by the afternoon. To put it mildly, this kid is an adorable-to-a-fault, pint-size ball of trouble. He doesn’t want to hold hands, even though he is known to run away (off the playground, out of the lunchroom, down the hall). He doesn’t ask for hugs. He doesn’t ever want help, as “he can do it himself.” He loves to instigate, ripping up other students’ work with a smile on his face. My heart goes out him to daily.
So on this day, when I asked the students what they were thankful for, I received the typical answers: family, friends, food. As I wrote the responses on the board, my littlest student bounced out of his seat, as usual. I turned around to remind him that he was supposed to be at his desk. As I turned, he put his hand on my thigh (which is eye level for him), looked up at me with his big brown eyes, and innocently said four words that stopped my heart: “I’m thankful for you.”
Not for X Box, not for silly bands, not for anything most kids would say they were thankful for. He was thankful for ME.
My initial reaction was to scoop him up and give him a monster hug, which he promptly tried to squirm out of. Later, as I drove home, exhausted and drained after 11 hours at school, I actually cried. Those moments are why I do what I do. Those are the moments that erase a day, a week, a month of stress. Those moments make me thankful that I am a teacher.
So, I am thankful. I am thankful for a loving, caring team that supports me “in the trenches” daily. I couldn’t do my job without them—and I wouldn’t want to.
I am thankful for the parents who entrust me with their children’s education, even if sometimes we don’t see eye to eye.
I am thankful for my students. Every day I get to know their little personalities and shape them, just a bit.
To all the teachers who made me who I am, to every amazing teacher I work with, to every teacher who has come before me and who will come after me, I’d like to say: “I’m thankful for you.”