Life. So much is held in those four little letters and yet it is what continues on even if we don’t give it permission to. I know that we all have those days where we would love to bury our face into the pillow and throw the covers over our heads…but we keep going. Why? Because life doesn’t stop.
Why do we keep going? For the kids that we work with. Even though the students I have are well on their way to adulthood and are extremely eager to “grow up” they still feel betrayed if I have to miss a day.
Most recently, I had to miss 2 days of school because of personal reasons but when I returned my students (all of them) breathed a sigh of relief that I was back and then informed me that I was never to be gone again. I know for a fact that it was not because they had a sub that they hated (I love the sub that was in my room, I would be lost without her) but because they count on us to be there for them…even when we aren’t their most favorite person at the time.
We also must remember that while we have our own lives, our students have theirs. Now I’m not about to go on talking about how we need to assign them less because they have so much to cram into a day….No, instead, we need to remember that they sometimes have grown up situations that they encounter but they aren’t sure how to handle them in a grown up way. We need to make sure that we are there to help our kids navigate this thing called “life” as they encounter all those things we wish to protect them from.
Even though today is only Monday, I know that this is going to be one of those weeks where I’m checking for the cracks in the foundation. In our district our Elementary School Principal and his wife lost their youngest son to a genetic disorder. In a community as small as ours, it is a loss that resonates through everyone. The strength of a teacher is truly tested when you have to try to navigate the waters between being human and being the source of consistency for all of your students that walk through your door. How do you bring up topics of illness and death while reading Edgar Allen Poe without checking each face in the room to see if a word triggers emotion in them, because it did in you? How do you ask them to write personal narratives without causing them to break down?
How do you be a teacher when those four little letters (l-i-f-e) throw you curve balls? You keep calm and carry on…