Today I had a thought. Children need stable figures in their little lives. Ok, that’s obvious right? Parents, siblings, extended family members are all important figures in a child’s life.
But today I returned to my class after some sporadic absences that included part day and whole day leave for a combination of sick and professional leave. It technically was only a couple of days, but it seemed like a lifetime for a semi control freak like me.
I had a couple of subs, and my kids didn’t behave that fantastic the last day I was gone. When I heard of their poor choices I was definitely disappointed, but I actually started laughing. I thought to myself, I think this just means your kids missed you. They need you.
I realized, upon my return, how much they really do need me. Not because I’m a great teacher, but because I’m their stability throughout the week. I am a stable role model that they count on to be there each day to teach and lead them. For some of them, I’m the main source meeting their basic emotional needs.
My heart grew three sizes that day. I missed my kids, and I realized they really do rely on the stability of a teacher that loves them.
Several different instances over the past two days have reminded me why I am a teacher and why my kiddos need me.
1. Our New Friend learning to say my name and now all I ever hear is “Carlston!” And it is the sweetest thing ever.
2. Seeing Blondie smile at me and off handedly say, “We’re just so glad you’re back.” As if she speaks for the whole class.
3. Greeting my students with high fives in the morning and watching one of my quiet sweet boys (who rarely expresses himself) light up and say, “Mrs. Carlston! I missed you so much!”
4. Our New Friend grabbing my hand and dragging me to wherever she is going. She leaves our room often for special services, and today she decided I was going with her.
5. Mouse tearing up when she got in trouble because of her behavior with the substitute. It was minor, just a reminder from her teacher of how to behave, yet those big blue eyes filled with tears and she whispered, “I just feel so bad.” I smiled and said, “You feel that way because you have a good heart. Don’t be sad, I forgive you. Everyone makes mistakes.”
6. When I scrapped the math lesson in their workbooks and exchanged it for a hands on (improvised) measuring lesson. My students were so engaged I barely heard any talking. I ended up criss cross on the floor watching the learning of my students unfold. It was the most incredible thing to watch.
7. When I realized one of my ELL students, Diego, didn’t understand how to do the math assignment I sat down on the floor and helped him measure. Two of my Spanish speaking students came over and Mumble said, “I was thinking I could tell him what to do in Spanish so he can understand.”
Then Junior walked over and put his arm around Diego and directed him to the next object to measure and continued to help him the entire math lesson.
8. Having a great day one day and a rough day the next. A day in the life of a teacher is an emotional roller coaster. No matter the day I still have little arms reaching around me loving me and silently thanking me. I need them just as much as they need me.
I really should be thanking them for teaching me how to love and be loved each day. Makes me wonder who really needs who?