Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Catch in my Throat

Today I went to visit the school where I have worked for 18 years.  It will not be the last time I visit it.  But it will be the last time I see some of my students.  I got there a little later than I had planned so I only saw a few of my students.  I have always been of the opinion that once they have been in my class, they will always be my students.

There is a love that teachers have for their job, their environment and their charges.  I find this especially true of students who have been with me for the complete three year cycle.  I have written about the connection and relationship with these young individuals.  I am proud of each and every one of them.

It is true that there are students who are really good at "school".  Lessons and accomplishments come easy to them.  These are students who leave a good impression wherever they go.  I have had many students like this.  It is always a pleasure to remember these students and hear about their accomplishments throughout life.

Another group of students are the ones that try to slide under the radar.  They do not want the teachers' attention and manage to do just enough to get by.  The teacher finds it necessary to seek these students out, to help them discover their gifts and their passions, and to help them accomplish goals.  When we see these shy children blossom into successful young adults our hearts beat a little faster knowing we had a hand in helping them on their way.

Then there are the students who require our constant attention.  The ones we work diligently with to help settle them down, build them up, focus their attention, and cheer them on.  These are the students that crawl slowly into your heart and stay there forever.  You worry when they move to a new class or a new school that they will have a teacher who recognizes their spark and encourages it into a flame.

When these children accomplish a goal, receive positive accolades and move to a higher level you get a catch in your throat, tears prick at your eyes and you say a silent prayer that somehow they will remember the progress they made with you and will continue to grow in a positive light.

Each and every child affects a teacher.  We put our hearts into our work and always feel a little sentimental at the end of each year as our students march forward.

Saying good bye is never easy.  I wonder whether the students and parents know how touched we are by each child.

So to all the students out there, be kind, be safe, and do your best.  That would make any teacher proud.

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