Some days my job is really hard.
And it isn’t the days where I have a zillion papers to grade.
Or where a student calls me a bitch.
Or another tries to argue me out of points on a test.
When they lose my restroom pass or their book. Again.
When they break another test tube or steal my last pen.
When they ask me to repeat what I just spent the last hour explaining because they were asleep.
Or when the copy machine is broken or I forgot the quiz I stayed up late writing at home.
Not when I have meeting after meeting or even mind numbing training that I will never use.
Not even when I have angry parent phone messages that make me sweat.
Or when I have a screaming headache and still need to teach the 150+ kids how to calculate specific heat.
Not even when I have ridiculous paperwork to fill out, TAKS tests or hall duty.
Not when half my class is falling asleep and I’m tempted to let them or even when APs pop in unannounced.
Those days are easy compared to the few have had recently.

Days spent visiting kids in the hospital, or hugging them after they have lost almost everything in a fire, or are afraid to go home.

Because that is part of my job too.
Loving them.
Letting my heart break for them.
And not knowing what the hell to do or how to make it better.
But trying anyways.

Sitting on hard church pews when their dad commits suicide.
Or their brother is hit by a car.
Trying to ignore they fact that they are wearing the same clothes they wore yesterday. And the day before that.
Sending them a note when they go to rehab. Trying to catch them up when they get back.
Hoping that they have lunch money or a place to sleep.
Overdoses. Car wrecks. Suicide attempts. Cuts. Bruises. Bloodshot eyes.

And don’t get me wrong.
There are plenty of boring lectures.
And normal teenage drama.
And even lots and lots of laughing and jokes and even an occasional thank you.
There are lots of good days.
And normal cranky-tired-spilled-coffee kind of days.
But the hard days.
The ones where their eyes spill over.
And mine do too.
Are my absolute least favorite.
But I’m starting to think that maybe they matter the most.

(and since that was super depressing, watch the cutest thing I have seen all week...and what NPR had to say about it here.


Dawn said...

It is so hard because you care & love these kids more than most. You are making a difference even when it does not feel like it. Love you, my friend.

Alyssa said...

What you are doing behind the scenes by pouring into those kids' hearts and lives will far outlast the tests and grades. Thank you for stepping up and doing the hard work. Praying for God to encourage you in the days ahead.

RaeAnn said...

That was very inspiring. I will always remember (and often think about) my teacher who I had that did those things for me. I hope that one day I can pass that on to someone else who might need a shoulder to cry on... Thanks for being there for the students who need you the most.

Kier's Serendipity said...

And this is why I couldn't be a teacher....and admire those who are. You are making a difference even if you think you are not. I promise you, there is no way you are going to be a forgotten teacher you had that one year in high school. I am sure you are going to be at the top of their lists of teachers who left an impression.