The Joys of Teaching
The joys of teaching? There are so many! From seeing those “lightbulb moments,” teaching students new concepts, and playing Four Square with them at recess- our whole school year is filled with love. This year, it has been difficult to talk about our triumphs as we have had so much pressure and stress on us from teaching throughout the pandemic. However, I am finding that what has gotten me through this entire school year and the pandemic itself is the relationships and rapport I have built with my students. I once read the above quote pictured in an Edutopia article and it has stuck with me ever since. Here’s why…
Last year, our students were robbed. Of course, we made choices to keep our community safe, but I cannot help but feel a twinge of pain when I think about my fifth graders from last year. I had these students for almost two years, I was their student teacher in fourth grade the year before I was hired, and then more than half of them became my actual students. We had many field trips, activities, and field day planned for the end-of-the-school-year. When we went into quarantine, I told them, “Don’t worry guys, we will be back before the last day.” Those comments I made slowly turned into summer, and the next school year… Now here we are, and they are almost done with sixth grade and still not in the physical building of school. However, I had a video chat with them last month and it was like they never stopped being my students. And that’s the actual truth- they did not stop being my students. I built such a strong relationship with all of them, that they will always be my students. I cannot wait to see them succeed and grow. They even tell me about what they accomplish now and I get so excited for them! My students from two years ago still message me about stuff like this, and it makes me feel like I truly made a difference.
Despite being online all school year so far, I have built relationships with my current students as well. They feel safe to tell me anything and share fun stories with me! We have all gone through a lot together, and no one can take that away from me. So, when you ask me about what truly fills my heart with love while I teach, I probably will not say when I am teaching fractions or author’s purpose (although both very important!), I will tell you that it is when my students share their goals, triumphs, and heartaches with me. I want to be there for those students who have a hard time with things. My parents gave me everything I ever needed and always supported me. I hope I can always be that person for my students, even when they may not have anyone else.