Conversations On Education // 8

September is so busy that I often get caught up in a work mentality and risk missing the real gems of why I'm in the teaching profession. Granted it IS busy with setting parameters, getting a strong academic start and focusing on systems to enhance expectations. Undoubtedly, a teacher needs to prepare and be working hard in September to obtain and maintain a profound start to the school year.  However, the intuitive nature of why we teach must remain pervasive and alert.

As a child, school was a safe haven for me; a place of peace. I felt comfortable enough to sleep in my grade one class. However, the comment "Avaline would be a great student if she would just wake up" indicated that the teacher was not as pleased with this level of comfort. What she didn't know was that this was a great compliment. I was afraid at home and didn't sleep soundly.

In my mid-teen years, family conflict rose to disproportionate levels and the fear was accompanied with anger, yelling and unfortunately with physical abuse. I was a good student, a strong athlete and a reasonably easy kid.  Mom said I could entertain myself with toys as a small child for hours and as I grew older saw very little use in television but preferred books and study. It may have been my subliminal way of hoping things would get better by retreating into my own thoughts. Additionally, I joined EVERY team I could. It was a way to stay at school even longer every day. 

In the end, all these coping strategies met with a final and difficult beating made my resolve strong enough to leave home without anything at the unreasonably young age of sixteen. 

I have complete forgiveness for the perpetrator but come at life with a different set of eyes because of these experiences. As a suddenly independent and reeling young girl a word, a kind gesture, a momentary smile or a thoughtful comment on a written assignment became lifelines. Teachers and other adults in my life knew this and, from scared young girl to terrified teen, I managed to survive and thrive because of the haven my school had become. The comment "they don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" has always meant a great deal to me. It rang true for me then and rings true now as I try daily to positively impact people (my students, my colleagues, student's parents, etc.) so they too can live peacefully and profoundly, regardless of what other variables they might have working against them in areas of their life I might not have any knowledge of. 

As teachers we have this opportunity daily, to pour into our student's lives and show them how much we care. Curriculum and essential outcomes are important, sure. But the care, compassion, security, and support we offer our students might just be what really makes the difference in one or many of their journeys. I hope you take encouragement from my story and remember what an important role we can all play in the lives of our students. 

No comments:

Post a Comment