Teaching is a joy. It’s a privilege that some take for granted, and others long for.
Teaching is hard. There are days when you give and give and give while it seems as if the ones you are giving to just take and take and want more.
Teaching is rewarding. It’s one of the most rewarding gifts that I’ve been given in this earthly life. There are hard days, when I question my ideas and the things that have always worked. There are hard years, when I question my core beliefs and philosophies.
No matter what my year is like, no matter how the day went, there are certain things that I am always thankful for as a teacher–and I’m pretty sure that my teacher friends feel the same way.
I am thankful for my classroom. It’s my home away from home. My nook. My niche. My nest, where I gather all my chicks who are ready to learn. Ask any teacher what their first thoughts are when they get a new job, and the thoughts will center around the room. What’s it like? What’s in there?
I spend summer nights laying awake, mentally arranging and planning my classroom. I sit at my table on quiet afternoons and look around, imagining what will happen there tomorrow, remembering what happened today.
I can look at certain places in the room and see kids from years ago, and I remember the miracles that happened there. I remember when she realized she could read. I remember when he told me about his mom, even though we never thought he’d talk about her again. I remember when they surprised me with a baby shower for my first son. I remember when we sang God Bless America for the parents. (And yes–I remember when that mouse ran in the door!)
I’m thankful for the noise. There are many times that the outside observer would think otherwise, but I’m thankful for the noise in my room. Noise means productivity in a classroom. Noise means communication and communication means that my kindergarten and first grade friends are learning and sharing new ideas with each other. If my classroom ever becomes silent for days on end and there are children inside, I’ll have to wonder what has become of my teaching. Yes, I am thankful for the noise and the commotion in my classroom!
I’m thankful for my husband. My husband has contributed to my classroom and mental sanity as a teacher more than anyone will ever know! 🙂 From arranging and rearranging my computers every year, moving me in and out of my room, setting up my webpages, and so much more, he is my biggest helper. In addition to helping in my actual room, he is also my therapist! Ask any teacher’s spouse, and they will tell you that listening is the key when you are married to a teacher. I’m so thankful that I can come home and his listening ear will be ready for me to unload my day’s woes and new ideas.
I’m thankful for my teacher friends. How I love them. We spot each other’s classes for restroom breaks, we share food, ideas, jackets, even clothes in emergencies! We can communicate with “the look” at a moment’s glance, and there’s nothing like a tissue and a Coke pushed through the crack of the bathroom door from an empathetic soul when you’re having a mini cry-session over your current classroom situation. That may have happened to me once.
There’s no judging from your teaching besties, only understanding. I’m so thankful for those teacher friends who share stories, activities, lesson plan ideas, tears, laughter, and Oh-no-they-didn’ts with me!
I’m thankful for the bus drivers. They see where the kids come from and get them to school daily. They braid hair. The clean up “accidents”. They dry tears. They give treats on holidays. All the while, they are driving our children to school safely, day in and day out. Bus drivers are often overlooked, and they carry our most precious possessions to and from school.
I’m so thankful for the bus drivers at my school, who are the first and last faces that many of my students see each school day!
I’m thankful for the mess. Okay, this one is hard for me. But I AM thankful for the messes in my room.
Learning is messy. It’s not a simple, clean process that can quickly be wiped away. Real, authentic, learning doesn’t look the same for every child. It takes multiple routes and forms, and it leaves a mark.
When I’m mentally present–facilitating, following, guiding, teaching through my day–my room often looks like a mess by the end of the day. There’s not always time to tidy the day away.
It’s been a process, but I’m thankful for the mess. The mess shows me that I have spent the day teaching to the best of my ability.
I’m thankful for the parents. The parents, who trust me with their babies. The parents, who are my partners in education. The parents, who spend the evening after a full day of work reading with their kids, making lunches and snacks for the next day, filling out forms and money requests for class.
I am so thankful for the guardians and parents who give their time, efforts, and resources to make our room so much more than ordinary.
Most of all, I am thankful for their understanding and patience with a somewhat scattered teacher. They seem to always look past my inadequacies to see a teacher who loves her students and tries her best. For that, I am forever grateful.
I’m thankful for my students. My friends. My girls and boys. My precious students. Without them, I would not be called a teacher.
I am thankful for them. The talkers, the “helpers”, the rascals, the quiet ones, and the readers. The artists, the mathematicians, the writers, and the builders. The giggly ones, the sad ones, and the wiggly ones. I am thankful for all of them.
I am thankful for the big ones who come back to me and say, “Mrs. Givens, do you remember me?”
I am thankful for the ones who walk by and shyly wave, wondering if I’ll wave back.
I am thankful for the ones who stop for a hug every single morning.
I am thankful for the ones I taught today, with their grins and shouts and whispers. I am thankful for the ones I will teach tomorrow and next week and next year, if the Lord plans for it to be so.
I am a thankful teacher. I pray that I never take for granted the privilege and honor that I’ve been granted to teach some of my favorite people every day. I still willingly admit that there are days I walk around my school thinking, “I get paid to do this!”
Teaching is a profession unlike any other. There are hard days that make the good days even better. There are triumphs that are made sweeter by the trials. And there are always reasons to be thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving my teacher friends!