I am blessed.
I’m just over a week into being an official teacher inside the school I’m currently with. It’s been a whirlwind of a month; from teacher orientation, room design and construction (literally), to the very first day of school. It’s easily a thought that I’ve processed on multiple days, but have concluded that the battery life in my keyboard wouldn’t last long enough for me to type out all of my thoughts in relation to this amazing experience.
Truly, the best way to sum it up is to say that I’m blessed.
I’m exhausted. Cross country practice nearly kills me on a daily basis, and standing in class all day is actually exhaustive. However, it’s one of the coolest experiences I can say that I’ve ever been a part of. Sure, I’ve been in and out of this specific building for the past three years (that’s hard to believe), but it just isn’t the same as walking up the stairs, unlocking the door to your classroom, turning on the lights, starting the music, and welcoming kids in the hallway. There’s something magical about the experience…and that isn’t even factoring in the students and staff.
The ability to be on the most diverse district in our state, and one of the most diverse buildings in our district, is just jaw-dropping amazing. I have students teach me their native languages in class, we discuss racism, current event, China, Starbucks, destruction, the media, what is biased, baseball, Cuba, and immigration. The amazing part? One, it’s part of the curriculum. Two, the students are so desperate to grasp ahold of such hard, intangible thoughts about our society.
They want to learn.
Yes, everyone learns differently, but they’ve all expressed the desire to dive deeper into everything they’ve come across. Today, the students discussed police shooting an armed man, they discussed the different races of the police officers and the man shot and killed. They tied back the media showing so much of that as to the desire to make more money off viewership, this was concluded because we, humans, are fascinated by violence and destruction.
I didn’t teach them those thoughts. They wound up there by themselves.
I’ve met parents for the first time ever this week. I nearly puked because of how nervous I was. They were some of the most amazing people I’ve come across; I can see where the students get so much of their thoughts, opinions, and talents. Parents were thrilled to know that we’re not teaching out of a specific textbook, and unlike their childhood, these students aren’t required to memorize each country in the world. The funniest part? Having this dialogue with a parent:
Parent: My student came home and asked all of us what the largest continent in the world is. We all said Asia, they said we were wrong. They said it was Africa.
Me: Yes, we debunked that myth today in class. Can I show you the map that I used to generate that discussion? This is from the Washington Post and Al Jazeera America.
Parent: Wow. It’s huge.
Me: I know! Doesn’t that make you want to just geek out!?!?
These are my daily experiences and I love it so much. It’s just never ending amazement. Yes, I expect students to rise to the occasion and my expectations. However, I wasn’t ready for my face to hurt driving home each night because of how grateful I am to be in this position.
Staff members are amazing. I’m sorry, but I don’t understand the complaints that some teachers make about other teachers (sometimes, I do). It’s a blessing to be around people that are real, aren’t burnt out, and really work on the kids because they love the kids. It’s so cool to learn how to interact with students based on how they act, how they respond, and finding ways to push them to show them that they are great.
This is easily one of the most warm, fluffy pieces I’ve ever written.
Personally, surpassing all of the things mentioned above (it’s possible) is the head-scratching sensation of how everything came together for this specific moment. Math people, show me the probability that the teaching position that I actually wanted would open up, in the only school I wanted to teach in (literally telling the administration at one point that I’d be an instructional aid before I looked to teach somewhere else), and that I would wind up with the exact content that I’ve always wanted to teach, and that my first year would be the first set of kids that I spent time with last year. I have better chances of winning the lottery.
That’s how God works.
I’m one of the last people on earth that really deserves a chance to do something great.
I am blessed.