I just filled out application #11 after my mentor teacher emailed me to tell me the school district I student taught in had openings. I emailed it in at 2:04 this morning. It is now 2:18. And I have to work tomorrow morning!
While I was filling out the application questions, I teared up a little thinking about my students from student teaching and my mentor teacher. One question On the application asked me what skills or abilities I would bring to the school. It brought me back to a moment during student teaching where I had a terrible day. It was the only day I cried in front of my mentor teacher. I felt like I had failed and couldn’t really do this. Because she is so fantastic and somehow has it figured out just how to make everything feel right, she started telling me stories about times when things did not go the way she planned and did not work out. I remember thinking at the time, at least today wasn’t that bad. Later I asked her why she stayed after all of the aweful stuff she told me about happened. Why put yourself through these situations over and over?
Her answer is always on my mind: because these kids need someone there for them every day and she is that person.
I almost cried again right then and there but I was able to hold it in because I was so bewildered by the simplicity in her logic. It all made sense. Why, every day, teachers put themselves through terribly rough stuff; because students need teachers who are there for them always.
From that day forward I made a conscious effort to be there for them. To listen when they talked about video games or sports I don’t understand the rules to. To hug them for as long as they need because for some of these kids who else listens, who else hugs? In the mornings when they would come up and tell me every detail of their day after school, I listened. I didn’t send them back to the coat closet to put their things up right away. I hugged. I let them talk. Because they need to know I am there and I care. And I learned more about them that last month than the rest of the semester.
I am not so sure if I would have ever come to the same conclusion if it had not been for my teacher putting it so simply. In the face of all the chaos that happens every day, she saw that. I cannot express how lucky I have been to have her by my side. I cannot express how lucky I am that she said that. I know things will be tough but I have to be tougher because there are kids out there who need someone to be tough for them and to listen to them and to care about them. Goodness knows that rest of the world doesn’t do such a good job at that.