It's that time again teachers!! We get our class list, have new sharp pencils and a beautiful classroom. We as teachers are just as excited as the kids for the new year. We look over the class list and the notes from previous teachers. We wonder about 'those' kids with red dots under behavior. We ask questions, we already know some of these kids. We may or may not know already that some of these kids will keep us up at night.
If you have been teaching for any amount of time you know what I mean. 'Those' kids - they pull at your heart strings. I think they touch me even more because I saw how those kids affected my mom. My mom taught for 20+ years - staying home for several years while we were young and retiring my senior year so she could spend that year with me. I know - amazing right!?!?!
Well those kids that kept her up at night....SHE did something about it. She would talk about them at home and we would pray for them as we were saying grace at the dinner table. She would do extra loads of laundry for 'those' kids. On Fridays she would bring home a laundry bag after a full week of work and raising 4 kids. She would do the laundry for a certain family not just the year she had him but for several years after too. She tutored them in her free time for free of course. I think that's why I think nothing of tutoring kids before school or on modified days to help them for free as well.
That was my role model ~ maybe that's why I care so much...but we all do really. I taught in an inner city in 1995 and there was a boy that was off the charts ADD, received referrals daily and the staff had already given up on him in FIRST grade! I was horrified...I started talking to him and reaching out to him. One day when I had duty he gave me a very tight squeeze and said, " I love you Miss McGarvey! " He went on to say how he can't hug his mom because of the mirror in the way. I knew his mom was in jail and his dad was raising 7 kids while doing drugs. After that moment I never let a day go by that I didn't hug this little fellow whom I still pray for by name. These are 'those' kids that never leave our hearts....EVER! They stay with us and will until the day we take our last breath. I have had several in the last few years who have lost their moms to cancer. Believe me it was NO MISTAKE those kids were put in my class. Who better to relate to them than a teacher who lost her mama to cancer? Those kids make my heart ache all night sometimes. So if you see me walking the hall in the middle of the day with circles under my eyes...there's a very good chance one of 'those' kids in my class gave them to me. But that's okay ~ I wouldn't change it for the world.
When you look at your new class list I challenge you to do a few things:
* If you are a spiritual person of faith walk around the room and touch every single desk and pray for that student by name.
* Don't prejudge how the child acted with a certain teacher. You are NOT last year's teacher. You bring different gifts to your classroom - this child may act totally different in your classroom with the right amount of love/prayers.
* Don't give up on them ~ YOU might be ALL they have!
* Keep on keeping on ~ you are an amazing teacher and may think you are just one person. I promise you ~ you are in their life for a reason EVEN if they drive you crazy all day. Your reactions, patience and loving care to them will stay with them forever.
Have a great year ~ love on those babies like I know you will. Thank you for changing lives my teacher friends!