Sometimes we get caught up in the drama. and the MONEY. and the time. and EVERYTHING. sometimes it's okay to get caught up. But every now and then, you need someone who brings you back. Tonight was that night.
Our teacher contract ends in my district on Saturday, and we'll begin working "status quo." Not much will change, but hopefully things don't start getting ugly. I don't want to work the contract. I don't want to hurt the kids. I don't want to not do work at home. But, I want to make sure that my family is taken care of and that I don't need to take on multiple jobs for the rest of my life. I've gotten wrapped up in that ugliness. On both sides. But why are we here?
We are here to teach. We are here for the KIDS. We are here because we love to watch the a-ha moments and help them through the pain. We love to parent- even when it's hard. even when they're NOT OUR KIDS. Because- they're all our kids. They are our future.
So I went for a run at 9:00 tonight. My kids were in bed and I was feeling fat. I decided to run and lose my mind for a half hour. About a mile and a half in- I heard a tall middle schooler yelling my name. Because I live in the district I work, this is not uncommon. There are a few students in my neighborhood- but I chose not to teach those kids. I thought they were saying hello- until I realized it was him. The student who struggled ALL YEAR. He came from a seemingly perfect neighborhood. Until I saw in the newspaper that his father was in jail. for a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE crime. Boy's behavior was BAAAD, and he was giving his poor mother a run for her money- when she was trying to hold it together- inside AND out.
So- since this situation is not in the "how to be a good teacher" handbook- I did what I thought was best. I gave him tough love. A LOT OF IT. He hated me for awhile. But that's okay. I knew I was doing what was right.
He ended the year on a good note. Dad was sentenced and away in prison. Mom said that things improved when I talked to her at the end of last summer. And time passed. When Boy told me his mom was inside my neighbor's house, I told him to tell her I said hello. He texted her and she came running out. "Some people have that one person in their life that changed them. You are that person to my son. Thank you for saving him." What? Seriously? I had NO idea. She raved about what a fabulous sixth grade year he's had thanks to me. She went on and on about how much I loved and helped him through the most trying experience of his life.
I was on cloud nine. or ten if there was one. How sweet! All too often in every business we only hear the bad. In education, we see more success than other jobs, but it's hard to let go of some kids and not see their outcome. This mom made a decision to tell me what I difference I had made in her son's life. Amazing. Simply amazing. I cannot believe what a profound difference we make everyday- without even knowing it. Makes me feel like all of my frustration and work is worth it. Even when I want to shake them and hug them at the same time. Even when I want to give them the answers- but can't. Even when I lose sleep over them at night. It. Is. Worth. Every. Minute.
So- thank you S- for finding me tonight. And picking my tired soul off the ground and giving me wings to fly again. Another year in the books- and many more ahead.