This week started a new semester teaching students…new students. Our school is one of the few in the district with a semester based schedule to assist students on their path to graduation who may have wandered off the course for a variety of reasons. They are able to recover credits faster which means they can get back on track to graduation. A semester based schedule also means I receive a new class list of students in January (this week). I realized yesterday that I’m usually a bit depressed during this time and tried to be mindful about what was causing all of this emotion to stir.
I love my students…someone once told me I shouldn’t say that, but I do…in the time I spend with them I learn so much, bond with them, care for them, and I know some reciprocate that feeling. Some overcome so much adversity to simply come to school, so being a part of the journey to their goal to graduate is incredibly rewarding. I prefer to teach 11th and 12th grade, but it can also come with some pains. You bond, care, and build relationships with students in such a short time and then they are gone…some keep in touch, but the change is difficult and often weighs heavy on the heart. How does one resist the slight depression that accompanies the change? We (teachers) are expected to begin again with a fresh batch of students as if we didn’t lose a tiny piece of our heart…build those relationships, and watch them go…again, and again. I will do it…because that’s who I am!
Ten things I learned from my students:
- up-to-date slang terms like “wavey”, “finesse”, “thirsty” or that “it’s a dub” and “lit” have more than one meaning…haha! Ohh…and the term “corny” came back from when I was a kid!
- a simple hand on their shoulder or hug can calm the soul
- snacks go a long way
- That I was really rich growing up…I never remember a Christmas without a tree…we may have worn hand-me-down clothes, never ate steak for dinner, and didn’t have all the name brands, but compared to the lifestyle of many of my students I was blessed!
- to pick my battles and that I do not need to be in control all of the time
- the sloppiest handwriting can mean the deepest thoughts
- what a hijab is, how some observe Ramadan, and how we learn from one another when there is open dialogue
- that adult students do love using markers, colored pencils, and scissors…and they love receiving a paper back with a sticker on top of it
- students who seem tough deep down because they’ve been handed adult responsibilities just want a chance to be kids
- how to laugh more
My challenge for you is to send an email to a former teacher, current teacher, school staff member, professor…update them on how you’re doing and what an impact they made. We often wonder about students and it’s always nice to receive a positive email!