I Didn’t Know

Last Thursday, the buses pulled away and we waved, then cheered when the last one slipped out of the lot.  I was close to tears, but at the same time felt relief and elation.

3 years ago today, I couldn’t have told you where I would be teaching or whether I would be teaching at all.  I had only one interview.  I was searching for a summer job, I was scraping by one day at a time.  I had no idea what my future held.  I didn’t know about these kids or this place.  I was hoping and praying for something.  I just wanted someone to give me a chance.

Sometimes, when I sit and reflect over my 3 years of teaching, I shake my head in disbelief that I haven’t crumbled or jumped out a window.  There are moments when I just don’t know if I can come back and do it all over ago, and I don’t just mean after the year is over, but daily.

However, as I look through pictures of my students, I think about those moments when they make me laugh hysterically, it makes the fight worth it.

…..those moments when they share their heartbreak and I want to weep but hold to together to be strong for them.   …..those hugs that they awkwardly gave me when they left.  …..those Valentine’s they wrote me. “Don’t worry Ms. Spare, you aren’t alone, you have us!”

Those are the moments that make my job the best job.  My students make my job worth it.  I told them just that.

They asked if I was going to give them a sappy speech on the last day, “Of course, I will have the last word!”

Even though I know it might go in one ear and out the other, I still them that I care about them.  I tell them that they make my job better.  I tell them that they have so much potential and I am excited to see what they do with their future.  I tell them I am going to miss them.  I tell them that as frustrated I can get with them and their behavior, they will always have me in their corner.

On that last day, tears weren’t a threat, until one of my students who I am closer to, walks up with flowers.  “I told you that you were my favorite teacher,” she says as she hands the flowers to me.

Tears threaten to spill out, but I hold it together and walk into class as the bell rings.  And for the last time, I raise my hand and wait for them to get quiet and work on their bellwork.

There are days and events that make me question my profession, but I think everyone has those.  If you didn’t question what you did and why you do it, I think you can get too comfortable.

Looking back 3 years ago, I don’t think I could have predicted that my heart would get so attached to these students and this place.  Even if they don’t ever fully realize how much I care, it will still be worth it.

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