21 March, 2015


I love teaching. I cannot imagine a career that I would adore as much as teaching. My students and lessons completely fill my thoughts, even when I am not at school. This can be a good thing.
You see, about a month ago, I went through something terribly tragic that has set me through a whole slew of depressed ups and downs. I took a few days off school to recover and was not myself when I came back to school. My students were worried. I gave them the bare minimum information so they would know where I was. Still, every week I would have concerned students asking if I would tell them where I had been and what happened to me. Worried mothers cornered me in the halls because their kids were worried at home. One girl told me she was having nightmares about what had happened. I wasn't ready to tell them.
Finally, yesterday I let it all out. I was expressing my thanks to them after an amazing teacher appreciation week. I thanked them for caring about me and for being an amazing class. I thanked them for keeping me happy and laughing through the week even if I was still a bit depressed--but mostly just on weekends now.
Several hands were raised. I knew the question was coming.
"What happened to you? Where were you?"
I told them. I awkwardly fumbled with the words that I had only told five other people in the world.
A few tears escaped. A couple of my students cried with me. And then what happened? They all quietly came up and hugged me. Every. Single. One of them. The boys that are "super cool" and the girls that are shy. Thirty slightly sweaty 11-year-olds were wrapped around me at the same time. Thirty 11-year-olds get that close on purpose very frequently.
We ended up laughing and almost falling over, but we stayed upright.
I dread the end of this school year more than any other. These kids are amazing. They are all friends with each other.
"We're all friends?" One girl asked me the other day after I told her how proud I was of this class for all being friends.
"Okay. Not friends. How about you all get along so well and you can talk to anyone in the class and everyone likes each other...but not in the crush sort of way."
"That's a better way of describing it."

Yesterday I watched some students slowly work their way through a math problem that was a culmination of several months of learning. I taught them (or they learned from someone else this year) almost everything they needed to know to get through the problem. I felt so proud. Not of myself. Of them. I got a glimpse of what parents feel when they see their child accomplish something tricky by himself.
I wanted more students to be back with me so I could keep that feeling going. It's a good feeling. So proud of kids that have complained and fought and resisted, but have mastered something hard.