I’m going to go on a bit of a rant right now, why? Because I am so full of words and thoughts, and things to say that I feel I need to pour it out on paper before these letters start to mold themselves together, acting as fingers turning into hands, and wrap so tightly around my throat, suffocating the air from my dry lips. Or perhaps that has already begun to happen.
There are countless words that I could use to describe myself, but only one world holds the weight of my heart, my passion, and my life. I am a teacher. I teach 8th grade AP Reading and Language Arts, and I have worked through two B.A.’s and two Master’s to finally achieve the career of my dreams, only to find myself crawling into my humble apartment after a long day of pacing the classroom in 5 inch heels, to have a glass of wine and often times cry under the weight of it all. But isn’t this what I asked for? Isn’t this the life I wanted? Yes and no.
I am a teacher because I value the power of knowledge, of an education. I take it seriously, the art of learning and acquiring information, and I encourage all of my students to do the same. But that is not always the case. I find myself almost begging students to submit assignments, to read for information, not to simply sound out words on a page, and the response (or reaction) that I receive is like I just asked them to invent a new physics equation. There are days like today, where I am so lost to find a way to reach them, as I feel I used to. I tell them time and time again, there are only so many ways that I can make grammar and reading fun with activities, games and interactive assignments, and that sometimes they have to listen to a lesson and study for an upcoming test.
And I try to remember the students that help me realize I am truly making a difference. The students who approach me with a book I recommended, confessing how it changed their whole perspective on the act of reading, that they are hooked, and are hungry for more novels to devour. The students who come to me and say how I really helped them understand an area of concern regarding verb tenses, as their English is somewhat limited or broken. And the students who tell me how I listen to them, not treating them as “students,” or “children,” but as real human beings, and how it helped them through a difficult point in their life. And I realize, not only am I a provider of information, a guide to knowledge, but I am a also a role model to these students, someone they can turn to for help on assignments, advice, or moral support.
And I realize, there are some difficult days and difficult students, but in the end, I know deep down (as cheesy as it sounds) that I am truly making an impact in each of their lives, as they are making a difference in mine. I became a teacher because I have a passion for learning, and to be honest, they too have a way of teaching me things every day. How to be patient, how to be caring and forgiving, and how to see the silver lining of every cloudy day.
So, perhaps today was just another cloudy day, but I plan on relaxing on the couch, thinking of some new activities to include in tomorrow’s lessons, and drink a glass of wine with my boy. To all of my teacher friends out there, trust me, I know we all have difficult days, but we need to remember why we chose this path in the first place, and appreciate the difference we are all making for these students.
There are many words that can describe me, but teacher is the one that fits best.