I was thinking the other day about how many years I have been in education. This is the 39th year that I have started out the year as an educator. All but one year has been at the school level. Prior to that, I started the school year as a student for 16 years which included college. So for the past 54 years, I have started out a new year in August or September. In reflecting back, the strangest year for me was the year that I spent at the district office. I remember that first day of school and I had no school to be at that day. It was a weird feeling for me and I knew then that I didn't want to be anywhere but at school to start the school year.
Over the past few years, I have thought a bit about what it would be like to be retired. Even though I look forward to this in a few years, I am absolutely not ready to make that break yet. And I have thought about why I feel this way still. I still love my job despite awful budget cutbacks, larger class sizes, problems in our society that are carried into the school, and the myriad of other issues that we deal with on a daily basis.
Sunday night before the first day of school was typical for me. As always, I was a bit nervous and absolutely excited for Monday. Our Meet the Teacher Night on Thursday had been so positive with parents and students anxious to start a new year. It is a new beginning for everyone, including me.
Monday was a great day. Everything went very smoothly. I got so many hugs and smiles and I truly felt good when I got home, even though I still had to finish the duty schedule and do a few tasks that aren't my favorites to do.
I have always felt that as an educator, I hope that I can and have made a difference in the life of a child or a family. I truly believe that I have and that is what keeps me going year after year and why I continue to want to be a part of this incredible profession.
Yesterday a couple of things happened that make me realize how fortunate I am to be an educator and confirms why I still feel the way I do after so many years. I wanted to write about this last night, but wanted to make sure that it was okay to share this story.
Several years ago, a student who was a third grader in one of our multi-age classes was killed in an automobile accident in October over a long weekend. His mom was seriously injured and his grandmother was also killed in this automobile accident. That Monday morning when we found out about the accident is still very vivid in my memory. It was so devastating to his mom who was a single mom and to the students in his class and to his teacher. Tyler was a wonderful little boy who had many friends. I will never forget his funeral and all of the children who were there that day. I will never forget seeing his mother and her sorrow at the loss of her child and of her mother. Tyler would have been a junior in high school this year.
Over the years Nancy, his teacher, kept in touch with his mother. She told us of his mom getting married again, and then of her being pregnant. Then the news came that she was having triplets!! When the triplet, three boys, were born, we saw pictures. Then the triplets came to school to meet all of us. Were they ever precious and it was so great to see their mom smiling.
About two weeks ago, mom and dad came to register the boys for our preschool. These three beautiful blond boys were ready for Gilbert El!!! I know she felt there was no other school for them!!
I saw them yesterday with their backpacks on almost bigger than they are!! I have to say I had a few tears in my eyes. After school, I got some emails with pictures of the boys from our preschool teacher that were forwarded from Nancy. Mom was so thrilled that they were in school and that their teacher had a connection with Tyler. You see, both of her children had been in Tyler's multi-age class that year!
After school as I was out making sure that all was well with the buses, I heard this deep voice loudly say, "Hi, Mrs. Rogers." I turned around and there was an eighth grader who had been one of our students, with a big smile on his face and his arms out to give me a big hug--in front of all of the kids waiting for their buses. This particular young man had gone to a different junior high last year and was now back at the junior high by our school. He also had a tragedy in his family. When he was in fifth grade, his mom died while having a routine medical procedure. He was absolutely devasted and didn't always smile after that. Our teachers and our social worker gave him such wonderful support. He was so glad to be back with his friends. Eighth grade boys don't always want to hug their former principal....
THIS IS WHY I CONTINUE TO GO TO SCHOOL EVERY DAY!!! THIS IS WHY BEING AN EDUCATOR IS THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN OUR SOCIETY. THIS IS WHY WHEN I THINK IF I HAD TO LIVE MY LIFE OVER AGAIN, I WOULD STILL BE IN EDUCATION. THIS iS WHY I AM PROUD MY TWO ADULT CHILDREN ARE TEACHERS!!
And this is why I will continue to laugh at the absurd things that happen and get a tear in my eye when I see children blossom and families being happy. And this is why I will continue to get up every day and go to school (not work). I am truly blessed!!!