I started this particular piece on 02.13.18 in honor of the love of my profession…one day later on Valentine’s Day another school shooting occurred in our history. As a result of that and Valentine’s day, I wrote a piece about love and not needing any particular day to express our love. Yet, I must admit that in the last eight days my mind has been left reeling AGAIN over the horrors of these repeated shootings? As a result of that shooting, I started a piece to reflect my viewpoint as an educator who stands with the students. Only I hadn’t published that piece either. I have been stuck in a place where I have literally cried every day while watching, reading and listening in horror and in my own silent space. As I watch a nation divided, I continued to pray and look for a sense of guidance. I watched all this unfold from the perspective of an educator, mother and citizen…and with each passing day, I felt a heightened sense of trauma where I questioned myself, my choices to continue, and even my beloved career…
Then February 22nd occurred and for some reason this has always been a day that has brought me clarity. I don’t know what it is about this day but in the history of Hope, it is a good day and the answers I needed came to me. It was today last year that a student gave me a rock. It was a very special painted rock that simply said “love” and he told me that it was for me because I “rocked”… I have kept that rock on my desk this past year, and for the last eight days I have stared at it and held it, waiting for an answer to come…when today everything clicked. Everything aligned, a weight lifted some and I remembered why I do what I do. IT IS ABOUT THE CHILDREN and my overwhelming love for THEM. While it took eight days to find my silver lining through this very dark vortex of chaos that probably will not truly go away for many years to come, I came full circle. I came to the point that I can only do what I can do and I can continue to do my small part in trying to make a difference. I can only love, educate and pray that I contribute to the well being of a student and as I typically work with the more educationally and emotionally troubled teens – I especially pray that I am forever mindful of their needs.
So!!! Here are my original thoughts about loving my profession!
Can I just say…no matter how many years go by, frustrated I may get at times or wonder what in the world am I doing? It still always comes back to how IN LOVE I am with my chosen profession. I vividly recall many times over my amazing father telling me I would be a natural in the finance/business world and yet, while it would have been great, certainly the money would have been nice, I simply don’t believe my heart would have ever really been in it. It wouldn’t have been “ME” because I wouldn’t have been making the same impact as I have in this profession. Educators pay comes in the form of making a difference in lives.
You have to imagine these types of scenarios playing out in your average day…
When one of your beloved student’s comes bounding up, thrilled to tears that she reached one of her goals and you hug and she excitedly thanks you for your efforts. Meanwhile it seemed it was a relatively small part to play in this person’s life but to them it was the extra push they needed…yeah – it reminds you just how worth it, it all is!
When you cry real tears because it is time to let go, say good-bye and watch beloved student’s walk across the stage and in to their future. The very students who brought joy to your day with their bright smiles and jovial, respectful manner. Knowing how much you will miss them and ALL your little groups that would make their usual little treks to your office to say “HI”, wanting to check grades, just to talk or spend lunch with you. When they bring just as much to your day as you could ever hope to impart on theirs.
When you tell girlfriends that you got another little special note from one of your students and what a great work day you had and they all kind of just look at you, getting it but…not really!
When you literally have danced around a conference table before the start of an IEP meeting. Yes, you heard it right! The parent, Teacher of Deaf and HH, the ESE teacher, case manager, a District Transition Specialist, myself (as IEP Facilitator) and adult student danced to (of all things) “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Why, you may ask? Because he wanted to and it was his meeting! I sure wasn’t going to tell him no as he said, “all eyes on me!” and motioned us to get up while we hooted, clapped, danced and cheered with glee before getting down to the deeper conversations about his future. That little dance reminded me just how unique my profession is as it matches the uniqueness of each child, each moment and each day. They are our students but they are someone else’s child and they are meant to be loved and embraced as if each and everyone were our own!
Honestly, there are so many moments in each day, it is impossible to keep track but I know I am richer for it. I am so blessed to be in a profession where I have the opportunity and good fortune to forge relationships daily with families and my pay isn’t just about a paycheck!
Yup – these are the moments…because you see, you can switch jobs over and over because of your ideals, or in the quest of “bettering” yourself or because you think the grass will be greener or even in fear… Certainly there will be times when I think of things that take me to those questions but then I remind myself, I am building my life and taking part in building the lives of my students, one step at a time. Each day with these students gives my next steps meaning, purpose and clarity and I prayerfully consider what I am doing, knowing I am spiritually supported all along the way.
Next time you start your day, think of what gives you purpose and have the courage to dance first, before getting down to business.
So, thank you for today…as I continue to stand with the students.Go in love,