When the new school year starts in a couple of weeks, it will be my 30th year in the classroom. THIRTY YEARS! That equals thousands of souls that I have had the great blessing to teach. I hope that my students learned a thing or two about reading and critical historical events, maybe even a little math. However, I’ve never felt that my role in the classroom was limited to the classic Three Rs.
I went into teaching because I love people. I love interacting with people of all backgrounds, every socioeconomic level, all races, and any sort of religion. I don’t care who you are- I will learn as much from you as you might learn from me. Your age doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if we’re in a structured classroom or at the grocery store. It’s essential to learn from one another and connect- to grow and change as people come into and out of our lives.
When my students think back on their time in my classroom, I have one wish. My wish is that every single student felt loved and accepted. I believe that real learning starts after a student feels safe and respected- yes, even those knuckleheads who make a mess of your lesson plans and who eat up your time with questionable behavior choices. Take a minute to see what’s under those actions. From my experience, there’s usually a pretty cool kid who is just trying to deal with some heavy stuff and needs a friendly smile with a side of understanding and willingness to help.
I’m a fan of the show Queer Eye. My family says that I am the Mom-version of Karamo, which is a compliment of the highest order! We’ve actually realized that we all have a Queer Eye alter-ego: our son is Tan, my husband and youngest daughter are Bobby, our oldest daughter is Antoni, and our son’s girlfriend is Jonathan. Yes- we’re all hooked. I think it’s just that we see the positivity and the goodness that comes from each episode. We feel better about the world by just sitting down to watch these guys work their magic to help others.
Here’s a CLIP from the current season that took Jonathan and the rest of the Fab Five back to his high school to work with a former teacher along with a Today Show interview. Take a look at the effect that her honest compassion and genuine love for her students had on him.
As I prepare for year 30 in the classroom, I hope I’m THAT teacher.