As I gaze across my classroom trying to decide where and how to begin my day, I see a memorial of sorts. These are gifts my students have given me over the past several months.
They include a framed photo of one of my senior girls in her Chorus T-Shirt. She's been with me in chorus for the past four years and wanted to wear her t-shirt in her senior photo session. I was honored by this. It is truly a gift.
Another is a white teddy bear with a Hershey bar and its companion book, "Why You're the Best Teacher Ever" completed in a student's handwriting. It is a fill-in-the-blank book in which she did an amazing job reminding me of why I teach in the first place. I was blessed to glimpse into this child's heart through her writing.
The next is a black and gray monkey with a heart in his hands. This came from a student I have taught since elementary school. He comes from a large family and has very little money. Over the years, I have fed him, clothed him and covered his chorus participation fees. I have done this with a cheerful heart and "as unto the least of these." He is such a blessing in my life.
Today, one of my 6'5" boys rode his skate board to Duncan Donuts to buy me coffee on his way to school. The outside of the cup was completely covered in coffee from the sloshing which occurred on his way from the store to the school. I didn't care. This was such a thoughtful gesture on his part and I was touched by his kindness.
Yesterday, my principal came into my classroom to do my Formal Observation. I had prepared my students for this and explained that "I only get one shot to prove myself as a teacher every year and I chose you to help me be my best. Please be here, be on time, be in the moment and responsive to anything I ask while I'm teaching. I am counting on you to support me in this." The energy, the love, the support, the connection between singer and conductor was astounding. They stepped up and made me shine! There were lots of teachable moments. I am forever grateful for their effort yesterday.
Teaching is tough. These "random acts of kindness" by our students are what get us through the day sometimes. There are days when I am struggling in the classroom. There are days I am questioning myself and wondering if it's time to hang up my "teacher hat." I wear many of them and it is exhausting. When I am really down, I read a "gratitude board" in my office filled with thank-you notes from students and colleagues. On occasion, will scroll through my blog and be uplifted. This is one of those days.
Until next time...