The instructional aide in my classroom this week is beyond phenomenal! She is very easy to work with and talk to. She often tells me she likes what I am doing to keep the kids in line and that I am consistent with my discipline. I need to tell her that I appreciate that more than she probably thinks.
Today she mentioned how she liked that I was consistent with my discipline. This came after I moved half of the class’s clips at one time. I made a list of everyone who was not following the silent reading/ silent writing time procedures and called every name in the list to move their clip. They were running around the room. Dancing. Talking. Just plain fooling around. When I say silent reading and writing, I mean you are silently reading or writing.
The aide then complimented that tatic and I simply replied with what is quickly becoming my catch phrase: I learned from the best! I went on to explain that my student teaching mentor was one of the best teachers I had ever worked with and I had learned everything I know about discipline from her. I said that I leaned so much and found that cared so much while I was with her. The aide asked if that was why I wanted to come back. I replied with a line my mentor teacher once said to me and have shared several times because it rolls over in my mind quite a bit: if I am not here for these kids, who will be? Not all of my kids have much consistency in their lives and school is a major source of the consistency and comfort so many of our students need.
I ended with the fact that it is a good feeling to be there for them. It is a good feeling. I never wanted to work in a school where the students have the problems my students face daily. I always assumed I would have one every so often who faced these kinds of things but never had I ever thought I would be a school like I am with so many students dealing with things no child should. I have the feeling that my life means more to me and to the people around me here than if I had gone home to teach. Not that there is anything wrong with home. I never thought I could be the teacher that would face every day with the possibility that one or more of my students got their only meal of the day at school. I never thought I was strong enough to do that. The funny thing is that I really don’t think I am strong enough. I just have no other choice than to be strong enough. Who will be strong enough for them to lean on if not me?
My mentor teacher gave me all the advice and suggestions and help I asked for and she continues to do so but the most important thing I heard from her and probably the most important thing I have ever learned about teaching is that I can do it because sometimes I have to. Sometimes I may be the only who is willing and able to.
Sometimes I can be firm because sometimes I have to be. Sometimes I can care more about someone’s life struggles than their grades because sometimes I have to. I can love these kids because sometimes I have to.
The fact that my mentor teacher could instill this much thought and meaning in me with a simple conversation where she just took a moment to do her best to help me, makes me hopeful that I can do the same for one of my students. It makes me think that maybe I can be a little better every day simply because I have to!