Then a student, a quiet girl, who never gives me any trouble walked into class carrying a big beautifully wrapped box.I was surprised and asked her if I should open it then or save it for later. She nodded encouragingly and told me now would be good. Inside was a white cat stuffed animal. "Remember when you told us you liked cats? Well, I remembered that and I saw this at the store and asked my mom if we could get it for you." WELL. Take that bad attitude. I hugged that cat tight and told the student thank you. I asked her what I should name this new cutie. She told me she'd think about it. Around 10:30, she came up to me and whispered, "How about Snowball?" Snowball came home with me and I told my husband the story with tears rolling down my eyes because of the sweet and simple gesture delivered right when I needed it most. This is a job for grown ups to learn from and guide small humans. It's about connection. Numbers matter but they take a back seat to the magical connection that happens when passion, learning, light bulb moments and joy come together. Being a teacher is who I am. It's not always pretty or even close to perfect, but thank goodness for Snowballs to help cushion the fall and help us onto our feet once more.
Thursday, January 7, 2016
A Teacher's Tale of the stuffed animal that melted my heart
Sometimes you just need a sign. Earlier this week I was in need of some divine inspiration. School started back on Monday and "challenging group" doesn't really even begin to describe my bunch. I was tired, missing break and so much quality time with the hubs, and most of all, I was discouraged. I woke up multiple times Monday night wondering how to reach certain kids, why what I've done for the past few years with teaching reading isn't working so well this time, and who I can move by student such and such etc. My mind was a mess of interventions, things to try, do, buy, create, etc. that would make 2016 the best year ever in my classroom. And in my mess I begin to really doubt and question this career of mine. Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to turn my back on this job that not only fills my days with joy, but also my heart. BUT it's time to get honest. This job is freaking hard. Any legislator who thinks they know what elementary school involves has obviously never had a bloody nose occur in the middle of a math lesson while another student falls off their chair, your email inbox "ping" just won't quit, all while a 6 year old tugs your sleeve and informs you that they "feel throw-upy." Teachers get the shaft, we get the blame, the weight of the responsibility on our shoulders for what's wrong with "kids today." I have a few choice words for some well-known education gurus (who trade time spent in the trenches of classrooms for pocketfuls of research and DATA, naturally), and not to mention parents, who believe my classroom should be a room of miracles, filled with nonstop aha moments and magic fixes for issues far beyond my training, expertise or pay grade. I read articles like this one and know that I am not alone in this frustration. And to top it all off, those Asian students just keep beating us in test scores and why is this my fault and how can I fix it? If you are not familiar with the concept of "worry spirals," you're welcome for that little intro above. In a nutshell: I was down on myself and my job. Tuesday morning I took my bad attitude to school with me and then......