On this blog, I usually stick to pure teaching. Ideas, sharing things that work for me in the classroom. I try to bring my classroom to you, when I have time 🙂 I usually steer clear of feelings, thoughts and opinions…but, today there were just too many feelings. Today was a little bit of a struggle. If I’m struggling, I know there are a million people out there that share the same feelings too…so, I’m writing them down. I’m writing them out for me…for you, and for all of the people who aren’t teachers. The people who don’t understand what we experience everyday. I think this might help put it in perspective….
As some of you know, I just went through surgery. A pretty scary surgery. Neurosurgery. It was a less invasive surgery, thank goodness for technology, MRIs and Laser Procedures!!! 🙂 But, I was scared, unsure AND I have to take 4-6 weeks off of work!!! Whaaaat?!?
It was all kind of sudden. I didn’t know how to process it or deal with it, let alone how to tell all of the parents of my students, my students and everyone else for that matter.
My administrator talked to my students. I talked to my students. My babies….5-years-old. How could they possibly understand? It’s just amazing to see their different reactions to the information.
As hard as you try to make it sound like it’s not a big deal and that you will be O.K. They are just too smart for that! I thought some of my kiddos were going to start crying. Some of the boys thought it was totally awesome! 🙂 But, one little boy….one little boy really stands out to me.
During center time, the first chance that he got, he RAN to the writing center and he made me a little card. Inside, it said, “I Love Mrs. Mense.” Now, this is just your typical little boy in your class. A little rowdy at times, likes all things “boy”. You know the kind. But, when he ran over to give me the card that day, he shoved it into my hand and then just stared at me. He stared straight into my eyes for a good 30 seconds. He was trying to tell me more than what he was able to write in his little card. Then, he forced his little body into my arms and gave me THE most powerful hug that I have ever gotten. It took me a little by surprise and almost knocked me over. He then bear hugged me for about a minute until I asked him if he was “O.K.” With a smile and another “look’ he said “yes” and went off about his business again. (Although he did sneak over to me several more times that day to give me some more hugs:)
After the surgery, I am T.I.R.E.D. An exhaustion like I have never felt before. People keep telling me to relax. Just take it easy. JUST GO AHEAD and take the rest of the year off. “IT WILL BE O.K.”, they say.
Yes. I know that it really would be “O.K.” Time would march on. Things would keep going and everyone wold be “fine”.
But, will everyone be “Fine”?
I NEVER. STOP. Worrying.
What is a “Teacher?” Well, that’s impossible to answer. But, here are just a few of the things that WE are…
These are my babies. I get them on their very first day of school. I help them learn EVERYTHING!!! How to walk in line, wipe their nose, zip their coat, write their name, use good manners, be respectful, add, subtract, read, write, be a good friend….I mean EVERYTHING. There is a kind of maternal connection that you have with these kids. For some, at 5-years-old, I. AM. their only constant in their life. For others, I am one of many constants, but, I am still a HUGE part of their world at this moment in their life. They spend most of their day with me. All day. Monday-Friday. They depend on me. They feel safe with me. They learn from me. We make memories together and I try to use that PRECIOUS time with them to make a difference in their lives.
There are so many little faces!! I wish I could show you them all!! So, that you might be able to get some idea of the precious little beings that run through my mind EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!
Of course this is the one we think about the most!! During our drives, in our dreams, in the shower…I mean, ALL. THE. TIME!! You are just So, So much to him….
But, there’s also that sweet little girl, with the sweet little smile and perfect manners that just warms your heart.
There’s the extremely bright little girl, who came to you in November speaking NO English AT. ALL.
There’s the little boy who is all kinds of impulsive and will be labeled as a “problem” if you don’t get back there and give him some structure and patience.
There’s that extremely smart girl who can’t stay on task for anything and you wonder if she’s doing alright.
And, what about the boy that is reading at a 3rd grade level?? Will he be challenged enough….or, at all??
But, well, it’s not only them that I’m thinking about. You see, because there’s this thing about teachers…
I told you today was hard. It’s so hard to be away from my school family. There’s so much going on. So many reminders all around that I’m just not a part of it right now. IT’S HARD.
This was posted on my timeline today from a 6th grade teacher at the Middle School. NOTHING fills my heart more!!! I LOVE that “My Kids” have these early, positive and fun memories of school. This post on my timeline MADE. MY. DAY!!!!! But, it’s also a reminder. Hey, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing with MY KIDS this week. Are they having fun? Are they missing out on those memories?
This little nugget also showed up on my timeline! My heart just burst with pride!! One of MY GIRLS (3 years later) talking about how she was inspired to raise money for Pajamas for kids in Need. Talk about PROUD. I just want to run to her, scoop her up and tell her that I’m so proud of her!!! (Sorry the video is not live…but, you get the idea 🙂 So sweet!!!!
This simple, little card also brought me to hysterical tears!!! This is a little girl whom I had a few years back who moved to a different school. The fact that she still thinks of me, and thought enough about me to have her parents go out (Yes, I know this little girl and that’s definitely what happened 🙂 and buy a card for her old Kindergarten teacher is just more than my heart can take. These little people are FIVE when I have them!!! To think about EVEN ONE year later, is like an eternity to them!!! So, for her to think of me several years down the road AND being at a different school….Gaaaaaaah!!! I. MELT.
And then, there is this. This BRAVEST. Little. BOY. who has defined the word “WARRIOR” for our school and is losing his battle with brain cancer.
He doesn’t have much time left. You may remember when I posted about him back in 2013. We did a little fundraiser for him called “Xaivore Strong”. I discovered this update, also on my timeline today. We all knew the day was coming…it’s just something that you can never really prepare yourself for.
You can like his page, follow his story and share some loving words and prayers HERE.
When I think about my neurosurgery and the time that it is taking to heal, I think about Xaivore. How what I’m going through is just NOTHING compared to what this boy had to endure. The exhaustion, the neausea, pain and sickness. The days where you’re so tired that it feels more like a dream than a reality. And, how hard is it for a child to understand that?
So, you see? It’s NOT. THAT. EASY. It’s so beyond hard for me to hear “take the rest of the year off.” “Things will be fine, really.” Believe me, there are parts of me that want to do that. Sometime I just want to catch up with myself. I want to put everything I have into my own children and family. I want to relax and take it slow….don’t we all sometimes??
But, the problem is, it’s NOT just my job. I’M. NOT. JUST. A. TEACHER. There’s so much more invested than that. That I have invested in them, but, more importantly, what they have invested in me. It’s not an easy thing to throw up your hands and give up. Being a TEACHER is PART of who I am. To take that away from me, would be like taking away part of me. I really, seriously, don’t think I could do it.
How many of us have a chance to make a TRUE. HUGE. difference in the world?!? I do!!! My job is a privilege! Did you see those faces?? There are so many little lives that I get to touch and make a difference in. How lucky am I? How could anyone NOT do everything that they can for these little ones?? That’s what a teacher is….