When I woke up this morning the last memory I had was of a dream that occurred only minutes, maybe seconds earlier. I was standing in an elevator in a school district administration building. The elevator was crowded and to my left stood a mother and her teenage (or pre-teen) daughter. They were having a conversation and quite naturally, I was listening. The conversation had something to do with the girl selecting a high school for the coming year. She didn’t want to participate fully in the selection process. Like so many young people today, she wanted her mother to make the decision for her. Well that conversation got my blood boiling, but in a good way… I think. This is what happened next (I’m paraphrasing, but you’ll get the point)…
I turned to the young lady and told her that she should go and get involved in the selection process. I told her to go to the schools, tour the classrooms, and get a feel for the environment. I reminded her that she should select the place that would feel conducive to learning for her! Finally, I said “you will be here for eight hours each day, not your mother, you will have to sit in these classes all day, not your mother, and you will have to eat the food, not your mother! Own your education!” By that, I meant that she should take control of her education by making those important decisions that would impact her education journey.
Then I woke up. It was one of those dreams that felt real, like I was on that elevator and speaking with that family. The truth is that is exactly what I would tell young people today, “own your education.” This is the one thing we have some control over, the one decision many parents allow children to weigh in on. The one decision that could determine their future career, lifestyle, path! Granted, young people do need some guidance and direction, but should have some autonomy when it comes to deciding where they will attend high school.
I can’t believe the year has gone by so quickly! It’s already the end of May and there’s only one week left for final exams. While my time at Salesianum School was short, it will be remembered. I have memories that will last me a lifetime.
My memories are those that made me laugh, yell, admire, love, and befriend! Any high school math teacher can relate to the mixed emotions that are experienced in (and out) of the classroom! It’s not new. Maybe some day I will share some specifics about those emotions and experiences.
Today, I want to share two tangible gifts I received this year.
1. A t-shirt with my name on the back. The significance of the t-shirt is that the students labeled me as a teacher who “Keeps it real.” I gave it to my students straight, no chaser, and they appreciated that. If they asked questions, I did not sugar coat the answers (whether the questions were about math, friendship, dating, or life). One of the parents purchased the t-shirts for the entire class (Thank you Mrs. R.).
2. A”K” shaped crepe. One of my students hosted a French exchange student this year. Toward the end of the 4th quarter my student earned a 92.2. He needed a 92.5 to get an “A.” The exchange student asked me to boost the student’s grade. I told him I would if he would make me some food using an authentic french recipe. So they made crepes (the french exchange student used his mother’s recipe – or so he said he did). It was delicious, so I will deliver on my word. He was a good student so I would have bumped him .3 points anyway (especially since he missed a few days of school while he was away at France as an American exchange student).
These are two of the tangible gifts I received this year. The intangible gifts are too many to name here. But to name a few I gained friendships, respect, knowledge, love, life-lessons, memories, and so much more. I will miss my students, but they will always be close in my memories.
Every year I meet very interesting young people. I have students from grade school through college and I learn something new from each of them.
My grade school students teach me patience. They remind me that I was young once and someone was patient with me.
My middle school students remind me of how awkward those years can be. I put more effort into making them feel special and smart. I like to make them smile. It’s the beginning of building (rebuilding) their self-confidence.
My high school students show me that the sky is the limit. This year, in particular, they have reached beyond the limits of the sky and grabbed their dreams. They inspire me to do more. They remind me that teachers are necessary, welcome, and appreciated. We really do make a difference!
My college students let me know that they still have some growing to do. They still need a helping hand and guidance. Although they must learn to grow, they still want to know someone will be there should they fall. Sometimes that someone is their instructor.
I am humbled to have met and crossed paths with great minds and outstanding individuals. They are our future teachers, policymakers, educators, accountants, engineers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, astronauts, actuaries, psychologists, and the list goes on. They are making a difference today for tomorrow! They are preparing today for our future and the generations to come.
HMC of Soul Stories nominated me for the Very Inspirational Blogger Award! What an honor!
Thank you Haley for the nomination, and the encouragement (that accompanies the nomination) to continue!!
With this nomination comes a list of things to do (requirements):
- Display the award logo on your blog
- Link back to the person who nominated you
- State 7 things about yourself
- Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and link to them
- Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements
Seven Things about myself:
- I have a volume of poems I am thinking about self-publishing
- I’ve decided to grow out my relaxer and wear my natural hair texture
- I have a stack of magazines longing for my attention
- I am a good cook (at least I think I am)
- I am writing a book about relationships (it’s a work in progress)
- I ride roller coasters
- I appreciate (and sometimes crave) alone time
15 Nominations for this Award:
- Blue Batting Helmet
- Reflections of a Second-career Math Teacher
- Couple of Travels
- Undead Dad
- The Musings of a First Year Teacher
- Mrs. Nelson’s Math Tutoring
- A Woman’s Guide
- New to the Orleans
- The College Coach-Dr. Stephen Jones
- I’ll Drink to That
- Research in Practice
- To Be Aware
This has been a very interesting experience. There are so many inspirational bloggers out there. I only scratched the surface. Please take a moment and visit a few of these blogs and see why I selected them for this award.
Thank you Haley for this nomination!