“So this week is Teacher Appreciation Week and it’s been raining non-stop. I think it is an omen”, I muttered sipping my hot green tea at my desk. My coworker laughed as she exited my class. This was my break with Pandora’s perfect mix of John Coltrane’s jazz and on the long dragging afternoons, Seabird guides me home.No need to say that I have been feeling a lot of anxiety over the situation. It is the week where your parents get to vocalize just how great of a teacher you are or not. How these decisions are made between the parents , of this, I am not aware. But the seasoned teachers are getting their gifts, baked pies, goodie bags wrapped in gorgeous paper….
“Is it because I am younger? ” I really didn’t get it because I’ve totally been here longer.
I even started counting the mini-achievements we’ve had as a class, on my fingers. I don’t know about everyone else but I’ve been in search for my gifts, it is only day 2 so maybe something will appear. I’ve been watching parents and their children interacting, trying to determine whether or not I should ask or not. I know I sound crazy, at least in my head I do. But seriously, a difficult year of whining, crying, kicking and those few moments of clarity about a student and how to handle their behavior. I think those moments deserve something, don’t you? Don’t answer that.
But it wasn’t until this morning where I was taught a lesson about myself from Jesus. Sigh.
I was suddenly reminded of a story in the Bible, about the young, rich ruler and how he was unable to follow Christ because he was not able to give up his earthly possessions. We never hear of him ever again in fact. Was he happy with his decision? What did he have possession of that was so important—that he was unable to leave it behind? I don’t know.That spoke volumes to me. Am I so dependent on people’s approval that I am willing to come apart at the seams just to get something put in my bucket? These are material things, movies, snacks and other things sure. But, is that really what you are doing this for? Or are you after what the rich, young ruler was unable to grasp. The vision, of what was really important. I rolled this thought around in my head and took my position behind my desk wrapping up my belongings for the start of the day. Gulping down the last of my tea, and muffins before anyway could see.
It was then that one of my students stuck their heads in and shared a joke that honestly wasn’t funny. But what made me laugh, was how he could not contain himself to share it with me. He rushed to my side and buried his face in my shoulder ,giving me the tightest hug in the universe and we laughed together. He then escorted me out to the rest of my group and I was met with a million hugs as if I had been gone–for a long time. It was then that I understood what was important…..
This is what I do this for. Because these connections are important. It is not about little gifts and perks that may or may not come with the job–it is, however, about possibly making a difference in giving attention, teaching, and support for their dreams. It is about them. We , as teachers, we do this because we love it. We do this because we know the difference it makes in small life. The difference it has made in our lives.
To all the teachers around the world, I applaud you. Even if we don’t get anything at all, we get the best hugs in the universe and the funniest jokes ever.
Thumbs up to you and Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Week.