Gosh, but yesterday was one of those hard teaching days.
Well, actually it was only part of the day but still.
When things are going well, and then they don’t, it’s easy to doubt myself. This year has been complicated two-fold with a broken ankle and the Mr.’s recent health crisis. Questions constantly swirl in my mind.
Am I really a good teacher?
Am I still connecting with my students?
Am I leaving a lasting impact on their lives?
That’s when God gently reminds me that yes, I am, doing all of the above.
Running into this precious sweet girl…a young lady I taught six years ago…
She was in my first class at my current school…my second year of teaching but my first as a reading teacher.
I had no idea what I was doing with this prep.
This young lady sat in the back of my classroom, smiled, and nodded at everything I said.
I kid you not.
She lit up my world every day she was in class, and let me tell you, I don’t remember her missing many, if any.
She continued to brighten up my days each year that she was at my school until she graduated. She and I are friends on Facebook now, and I love watching her continue to mature. She is incredible.
I ran into her at Walmart when she had taken the day off of work to raise money for her church.
Go ahead and let your heart take that in a moment.
Every time we get together, she thanks me for being a wonderful teacher and getting her through her ninth grade year.
I love her, that’s for sure. She made me a better teacher and a better human being. She’s as beautiful inside as on the outside.
And then on Saturday, while out shopping at the mall, I ran into a current student of mine…another ninth grader.
She’s rough around the edges, y’all, but I love her. I don’t know why the toughest kids manage to burrow their way into my heart, but they do.
She insisted that we take a selfie, and I acquiesced. She often tells me that I’m her favorite teacher. I think it’s because I don’t judge her. I just listen. That doesn’t mean that I don’t speak up if I think she needs to clean up her act, but I love her no matter what.
Thinking about her brings to mind one of my favorite students ever. I’ll call him KH for short.
He was another ninth grader I taught about five years ago, I think.
I ran into him when Chicky was up here a couple of weekends ago (I should have started this post with him so it would be chronological…and the fact that we are working on text structure in my class has obviously left its mark on my brain…ha!).
Anyhoo…he was a dream to teach…once I got past his tough exterior. What a teddy bear this young man is. Every time I see him, I have to give him a hug. He’s in college now and doing well. I’m not surprised. He’s always been determined.
And then there’s M, a sweet girl I taught either three or four years ago (there goes that time thing again). She did the high school graduation thing and has been trying to find her way. She recently came back into my life because she works at my physical therapist’s office. She came and sat beside me during my second session and encouraged me. She texts me to see how I’m doing. I’m working with her to help her pass one of her college entry exams, so we have dinner together sometimes. She’s becoming a friend now. The mentoring hasn’t stopped, but it’s on a more adult level now.
I could keep on describing my kids to you, but you’d probably get bored and stop reading.
The point is that when I’m feeling like I’m not making a difference, God puts the kids from my past forefront in my mind. He reminds me that I didn’t think I was having an impact back when they were in my classroom either…that I doubted myself back then. Confidence is something I have always struggled with.
Even though I can’t see the changes immediately, God is working on them.
And so I go forth, a little battle weary some days, but trusting in His plan and looking to Him for the energy to push through even when my feelings have been hurt or when I wonder if I’ve said or done the right thing.
When today is hard, I need to revisit this post and praise God for what He’s done, what He’s doing, and what He’s going to do next.