Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I Teach Because ...

Just like majority of teachers, I don't do what I do for the recognition.  We do it - we show up to our classrooms every day, we stay late after school differentiating and planning small groups, we get to the bottom of incidents that happened at lunch - because we have ten months to make a positive impact in a child's life.  That equates to approximately 900 hours in the classroom.  All to let a little soul know - they are cared for and they are loved and someone is investing time in them because they. are. the. future.   

Next month, March 3rd to be exact, will make one full complete year of me being a teacher.  And this past week I had one of the most honoring and humbling experiences I could ever imagine.  My vice-principal approached me last Tuesday night, at 5:00 pm when we were beginning report card night.  She sat down at my team teacher's blue kidney table, complimented how nice I looked, then pulled out a magazine with a lined post it on the cover and a big smile on her face.  I thought, "Okay, she wants me to write an article for this magazine."


It was something much bigger.

She said, "So every month a teacher is featured in this magazine and they want to feature you next month!  You'll be on the cover!  So call this man, at this number, and set it up!"


My jaw dropped.  All that went through my head was, "I don't deserve this.  I don't deserve this. There are so much other teachers who are exceptional!"  I couldn't believe my VP thought so highly of me.  I'm tucked away in a little room in a random hallway just teaching my students how to be leaders, bucket fillers, analyzers, role models, writers, readers, authors, creators, gentlemen, ladies, polite, chivalrous, you know - the usual.  But this .. honor ... has really made me dig deep and think hard.

I have reflected on this for the past weekend, especially since the magazine asked me to fill out a questionnaire.  I was forced to really think about why I do what I do.  It took me about 3 days to answer all of the questions.  I would get really distracted, shut down to answering them, over think them, and just question myself - "is that answer 'good enough'?"  And then I remember - "good enough" in who's book?  I doubt myself a lot because I'm "inexperienced", "new", "young", whatever I want to label myself as.  But I look around at all the other teachers I work with, my colleagues, and I realize it could be any one of us - we all deserve to be "featured".  We are all exceptional, and if we did what we do for the recognition - then we're in it for the wrong reasons.

Nonetheless, today, through the messy morning commute and through the 30983091 inches of snow we already have here in the north east, the magazine made their way to my classroom.  Out of 27 students, I had 15!  Anyways, the man in charge and his photographer were there for I guess almost 45 minutes - taking pictures and asking about my classroom.  It was truly an experience that I will savor.  It was humbling yet inspiring.    

Sometimes I wonder if I'll "burn out" from what I do, but I like the business of it!  Maybe it's because I'm young, I have time, blah blah blah ... but what I do is a gift that God has given me.  I may work my gluteus fabulous off way too hard, but is that even possible when investing in the life of the child?  Working too hard?  It's a lifetime investment.  It's not an IRA, the stock market, or the slot machines.  It's the brain, the heart, the soul, the life of a little one.  These little ones are some one's niece, nephew, best friend, granddaughter, cousin, daughter, son, grandson.  These little ones are the future of tomorrow.

Why do you teach?