Saturday, November 15, 2014

First Nine Weeks? Check. Stolen heart? Double check.

So, I survived my first quarter of teaching. In that time, I have been frustrated more than I thought was possible, stressed out more than I thought my body could handle, inspired by the little things around me, supported by my coworkers, laughed with my students, freaked out over lesson plans, had a birthday, walked down the aisle twice (as a bridesmaid), gone on weekend road trips, and earned another Master's degree.

All in nine weeks. Yup. Nine. Weeks.

WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?!?! Seriously. I feel like yesterday was my first day of teaching, and now here I am, 60-something days into the school year. It's almost Thanksgiving. WHAT.

I can hardly believe it. Let's talk about this first quarter...since I haven't updated since August (don't hate me).

It's been a whirlwind of teaching, growing, and changing. I constantly question if my students are learning anything because, really, who am I to teach them. Are my lessons well planned? Am I making sense? Are they grasping the material? Do I need to go back and re-teach a concept? 

Then something amazing happens. I see that light bulb go on in their heads, whether it's about something we've covered in class or something we've talked about outside of class. I get an unexpected hug from the "tough guy." Or a student asks to read. Or a student says that they don't want to leave my room because we're learning...and it's FUN. Yeah, that's right. Learning can be fun, or so I've been told by several of my students.

Over the past nine-ish weeks, my heart has been stolen. Taken by my students. They are the most challenging, loving, insightful, and hilarious group of individuals. I never quite got it when my teacher friends would talk about their students and tell me to "just wait...they're going to steal your heart and not give it back."

It's happened. Does that mean the first year of teaching is easy? Absolutely not. I have sat in my principal's office more times than I can count, asking for advice on classroom management or not breaking down in front of my students. This past week was especially tough for my kiddos. But, yesterday afternoon, my homeroom all gave me hugs and high fives as they left for the weekend. Other middle schoolers came to my room to say goodbye. One class in particular told me that I looked like I needed to smile and their goal for class was to get me to laugh.

Guess what? They succeeded. I laughed so hard that I started to cry. They asked if they could stay in my room the rest of the day and keep working. Who knew the periodic table could be so entertaining?

The point is this - I never got it until now. Weeks like this past one remind me why I wanted to teach in the first place. I love my job. I love my school. I love my kiddos. And I wouldn't trade one second of these past nine weeks for anything. I am blessed beyond belief. So, yes, my heart has been stolen.

And I don't want it back.