Monday, May 25, 2009

Why I do What I Do...

photbooth picture of me watching my students for a moment... (5/22/09)

On Saturdays I teach Writing to 11th and 12th graders as part of a minority access enrichment program and despite the extra day of work, I love the different way I can approach my subject and students...yet no matter what, as a teacher, there will be challenges and for me there was one student in particular over the last two years that suffice to say was no easy feat to connect with. For some time I even thought of her as my weekend nemesis who was potentially out to ruin me. (Dramatic, perhaps, but you really had to be there)...so when it came time for our annual end of year awards ceremony (which was last week), each of the 12th graders (including my girl) put together speeches on top of coordinating the entire event.

One of my boys who I am especially close with said some kind and poignant comments when introducing me which was unexpected but warmly received and then later when the actual speeches came and my girl was up, I heard her say the lines,  'it's not just about the people who supported you but the teachers who inspired you.'  My interest was piqued to hear her acknowledge that much, but the kicker came when she started talking about the teachers that particularly moved her...and there I was, gasping openly as she mentioned my name. She thanked me for "always remembering what it was like to be in our place" and caring enough to tell them truths about life. She also looked directly at me and said, "I know I gave you attitude, but I want you to know you are appreciated and have affected me." None of the others could even believe what actually happened...all of them knowing how much this particular student tested my boundaries...later when a moment was free I ran up to her (despite the reluctance of some of my colleagues) and hugged her. She looked me in the eyes again and told me she meant every word and apologized for pushing me so much....she said she will always remember my influence and appreciate my teaching....and I told her it was moments like 'this' that kept me teaching....

photobooth picture of me at work...sitting in our office contemplating what I am doing here...

...and I am sure anyone reading this can understand what a powerful moment this was for me...and how much I can reflect on here...but mostly I am so blessed and thankful....because even yesterday I get a message like the following from a former students who has just finished her first year of college:

"...but most importantly i wanted to let you know you are a great teacher and i always looked forward to coming to your class ! so please keep it up for those other students..." 

I wrote her back today after digesting the magnitude of simple words and more than just showing my gratitude I expressed how blessed I feel to know in my little way, despite my worries and desire to grow more, I am still making a difference and am hearing about it so early in my career.  Now, I continue to strive to keep my intentions pure, to keep learning from my students and surroundings, to keep being true to myself and others...and (this is for you Ariel and Khadijat) to keep on teaching...

photobooth picture taken by one of my former students who was hanging out in my class during her lunch break. Haha--This one is from about a year ago...and after more than five years, I am still here!!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:15 AM

    See, you are wonderful.

    ReplyDelete

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