the smile, it’s all they want

I haven’t posted to this blog IN MONTHS! That is definitely not like me. Well, I am hopefully back now. I am back here to share my thoughts and ideas and feelings about teaching or anything else life throws my way. I have been caught up in blogging to this blog for my K-8 Spanish language-learning classroom, and this blog for school that is new and dedicated to the use of our Pilot iPad Program. Those have been keeping me busy and I am all blogged out! But I have realized I need this blog to reflect personally on my day to day with my students, my colleagues and life in general. I miss it.

So this post will be simple. It has been a long time in the making in my head and been in my thoughts. I have been meaning to write it here for a while now.

The one simple thing that my students want daily from me is to make me smile. They really do. They want my approval and I guess they have learned here at school that it comes in the form of a simple smile and sometimes a chuckle.
Most days it is so easy to make me smile. I come to school smiling. I am so happy almost every single day to be here. If I am not smiling when I arrive here, just thinking about this wonderful place where I work can make me smile. I sound so cheesy, but it is true. My job is fantastic.

But some days are harder than others to just simply smile and make sure each one of my students knows that they are loved. A smile is pretty simple with my Kindergarten-6th graders. They just love everything we do in this classroom so it is easy to smile with them. Even with my middle school students (7th and 8th grade) it is easy to smile. I have just had to re-learn what it is like to be inside the sometimes warped mind of a teenager.
But then there are the days when my students of all ages do something that might not have been the best choice to make in school, and I have to make sure that even when they’ve made a poor choice, they still know that I love them. I teach them for NINE WHOLE YEARS. It is a long time with a challenging student or a child that I just have a hard time meshing with…

Now that it is written here, now that I’ve committed it to “paper”, I’ll do a better job of remembering this and trying my best to smile and make sure these kids know I love them, no matter what.

To be loved

My students make me feel loved every day. They really do. I am so lucky. They make me feel so loved with their smiles, their looks, their words and just being themselves. Some of them make me feel like a famous rock star with their reactions to me some days. I love my students. I really do.

Since I teach kindergarten through 8th grade you can imagine who makes me feel like a rock star. The little ones, the five and six year olds who see me in the hallway and scream, “HOLA! as if they are surprised I am outside of my classroom… so excited to see me out and about. It’s an awesome “job”. I hardly ever call it my job or work. Most days it doesn’t feel like work (of course there are some days when it is definitely work.). I am so fortunate to go to a place almost every day where I feel loved. My older students make me feel just as loved. These middle school kids are so hilarious. What a crazy stage in life. The things they ask me about and the things they are interested to know about me reminds me of the way I felt about my beloved swim coaches throughout my life whom I loved and adored and couldn’t wait to talk with and spend time with. They scream hola just as loudly in the hallway. It is hilarious.

Now the hard part of my “job”…….

I have to remember each day to make every one (well most I hope) of my students feel just as loved and validated as they make me feel. It is SO difficult some days. My husband says I try too hard and think too much and he never remembers any of his teachers doing what I do or worrying about what I worry about. So that makes my task all the more important to me. I have these kids as my students for NINE years. That is a long time. The hardest part of my job is making sure these kids feel as loved as they make me feel for that LONG period of time. As human beings we just DO NOT all get along. That is just human nature. So when I have a student that proves to be very difficult to love, man do I ever learn A TON from that kid!

I just finished the book “Breaking Night” by Liz Murray from homeless to Harvard. She is living proof of what feeling loved and validated by her teachers can do!