Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another New School Year Has Arrived....

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 i
ssues 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 an
d 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 w
ere 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....


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!!!

14 remarks:

Dottie said...

We ALL are blessed by your passion for your work and your compassion for all of us who pass through your doors, Sheila! You're an amazing woman! You DO make the world a better place! You DO make a difference! Love ya!! Dottie

Anonymous said...

Ditto ! KW

N-Search of Peace! said...

Knowing that you have had the presence of mind, to listen to your inner voice to be an educator, you have exceeded all your expectations!

Living the plan, hope, and dream!

Life couldn't be any better!

With a grateful heart that you are who you are.....

Anonymous said...

Of course I love this post. Tyler's brothers are so very precious and I know he is smiling down on them with a gigantic smile on his face! Keep up your awesome work Sheila ~ you're the BEST!
Love & hugs,

Anonymous said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes, Sheila. I remember Tyler well as I was privileged to be in Nancy's class at that time helping with reading groups. To hear that his mom found happiness again with these three wonderful boys brings such joy and thank you for sharing this memory with all of us. Tyler adored, Nancy, as did all her students. You are always in my prayers and thoughts as each new school year begins, Sheila. Go Tigers!!

Cheela said...

I agree with you, Sandra!! Those children were so fortunate to have Nancy as their teacher!

Julie said...


This is a lovely post. I admire your passion for education. Your dedication to students, parents and teacher is truly remarkable. I have yet to see that in any other administrator that I have worked with. You ABSOLUTELY make a difference everyday. The picture of thise sweet boys made me smile big today. So sweet. I love and miss the community that you have built at Gilbert El.

Martha said...

Wow, Sheila. Between the song you chose and your beautiful stories I am in tears. Your post really captures why we become teachers. It is not a job, it is an integral part of who we are. I've only been doing it a fraction of the time you have been, but with each year it becomes an even more important part. Gilbert El. is a very special place and that is in very large part due to your leadership, guidance, love, and support. I know you've changed many, many lives for the better. You've definitely changed mine and the person I am today and you will always have a very special place in my heart because of that.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a powerful post...actually a PILLAR. No, retiring is out of the question. Instead you are REFUELING by RECYCLING all the connections with kids and families. Yes, you make a humungous difference no matter what!!
Thanks for making teaching more than just a money-making job!!!

Jane said...

I got all teary reading this..
Thanks for all you do.
I am so happy to be apart of this amazing family.

Lydia said...

Wow, I'm teary eyed like the rest of the people who posted. You are awesome and the kids know it! You care about each child. I came to work for only two years to pay for braces for my son, and here I am 16 years later. Why? BecauseI love the children too and I love their hugs and their sweet smiling faces. They are one of the lights in my life.

Tami Proffitt said...

alright, now i'm crying! it is because of teachers and administrators the motivated me to become an educator and give back what you give to your students...and the lives in the community you've touched! wow ....now, how can i get a principal like yourself for my twins or at least clone you.

THIS was a beautiful post and you are a beautiful person. and what a beautiful day to have as a reminder of the blessings in your life.

Jim said...

Thanks for this wonderful post, Sheila. I have some idea of the depth of feeling and loyalty you inspire in everyone around you.
Have a fantastic year; and by the way, I have a box of kleenex for you.

Anonymous said...

What a sad/happy story. Those little guys are sooooo adorable and precious! How fortunate for your school, Sheila, that they are there, and how fortunate for them that they have such a loving and caring principal!