There are moments. Small ones. Unexpected. Unplanned. Moments when I remember why I got into teaching. I'm talking about the very very first reasons I got in to this job. Before I found a love of teaching Algebra. Before I realized I loved teaching middle school. Before I had a passion for imparting learning. Before all that. Freshman year of college. Picking a major. When I imagined I could make lives better. I could make students happy. I could, if I did this well enough, change the world. It didn't matter what subject I taught or even how I taught it. I just wanted to be a part of education.
It's not that I don't still hope for that. It's just, as I get deeper into the practice of education the focus of my passion has shifted. I think it had to. The hardest truth in teaching is that you can't save every child from the world just by wanting to. Not every student will love my course just because I care about them. The problems outside the classroom are big and so many lives, even in a nicer school like mine, are sad. It can consume me if I don't put a little distance between me and the outside world. So, I focus on what I can control. I can control the math. I can control the instruction. I can control my room. I make my classroom safe and I keep my standards high. And if I do my job well, I can give each student a fair and equitable shot at taking control of his or her life through a better education.
one moment, one conversation, one goodbye reminds me that i am still effecting lives.
that i do more than teach math.
i can still give hope to students that feel hopeless.
suddenly the day stops. for just a moment. It gets real. i see a student clearly, really clearly, for the first time.
Then, I pull it together. Wipe away a few tears. Put my head up, put a smile on, and head back in to my classroom.
A moment like that feels so bittersweet. So full of regret, so full of hope. I am so thankful to this student, this unexpected student and this unexpected moment.