"Go through life with a smile on your face,a twinkle in your eye but withgreat purpose in heart."

Monday, April 28, 2014

Best Job in the World!

So I am nearing the end of my first year teaching!! Holy cow! Where has the time gone?! It has been a heck of a year. I have learned so much. It has just been on my mind lately of how blessed I feel to be a teacher. It is really hard somedays…really hard! I have always considered myself a pretty patient person  until this year. haha There have been times I have cried on my drives home from school after learning more about my student's situations and family lives. There have been many late nights at the school doing odds and ends. Then there is so much talk lately about common core, testing, the weight the teacher's have to carry and better pay for teachers. These are all valid concerns and issues. I am definitely not disregarding them. But with all that said, there really is no better occupation in my mind. It's good to stop and think about really why I am teacher and the good that comes from it. It's not all bad!!!! In fact, there are so many great things about it.  When it comes down to it I love my students and I love what I get to experience everyday with them.
First off, what other job is there where you come back to your classroom after lunch break with a giant foam board hand painted decorated with mounds of hot glue, ribbon, fake birds and jewels?
Or when you have a student who runs to you in the middle of recess with a giant weed, roots and all, saying "Here Miss Drawe I got this for you!" Then walks away with the biggest grin on his face feeling so proud of his gift…you can't beat it!
 I don't know how many times I have had discouraging things happen and my day has been quickly turned around because of the love my students have given me or I have seen them give to each other. They always teach me simple lessons every day and I always end up learning more from them. One of the biggest examples has been with one of my students who is severely autistic. At the beginning of the year we had a little class meeting about autism and what it is. We explained what their classmate goes through everyday and how smart he really is. It has seriously been incredible to see how my students have just stepped up to the plate and have loved him unconditionally. Three months into school a little girl wrote a whole story about Connor and how much she loves him. They treat him like he is just like one of them. They will take his hand and lead him to the assemblies or play with him at recess. They will just sit and talk to him when he doesn't even look at them or respond. I walked past his desk the other day and a student had written a note to him saying "Dear (insert name), I love the songs you sing to yourself. They really make me smile. I like being your friend. Love, (insert name)" If you want to know what pure love is just spend a couple of hours with these 2nd graders. These are all selfish reasons I realize but they definitely make the job a lot easier and brighten my day repeatedly!
In one of our teaching trainings today we had a man come and talk about the development of a child and what is happening in the brain. We all have brain cells called mirror neurons. These neurons are constantly taking in what is around them and creates who you are. With old science the theory was that however you were born thats what you got and everything is based on genetics. We are discovering more and more that everything is not just based on genetics. There is so much more that we can learn and grow from. Just depending on what we choose to surround ourselves with. He discussed with us how a child perceives themselves depends a lot on their environment. He stated that 90% of what we do reflects on what we believe about ourselves. These neurons that form and create our perception on life and who we are, are the most moldable at ages 6-8. You tell a child something at 7years old they will trust you and believe you. It really got me thinking about how wonderful of an opportunity it is to have a positive impact on the students I teach. The things I tell them and make them believe about themselves will set a foundation for their self-perception. When that positive energy and encouragement is sincerely given to a person it subconsciously effects their feelings about themselves. If 90% of what we do reflects on what we believe and feel about ourselves, how much good can be done if the 21 students I have leave my classroom feeling like they could do anything? I spend almost 40hours with the same students week after week. It is a good feeling to know that at the end of the day you have had an opportunity to do something good for someone else. As I go through the school day I am constantly thinking "what is best for this student?" A teacher has the power to create a classroom with structure and love which a lot of students lack back at home. And YOU get to be the person who creates that for them. As I drive home I realize I have hardly had any thoughts about myself or the problems I am dealing with. It is such a blessing!!
I realize I haven't experienced as much as most and I am naive in a lot of ways but it doesn't change the fact that, I love what I do. Anyone who gets to be in any sort of teaching position whether it be at church, a parent, counselor or anything of that sort is extremely blessed in my eyes! And I feel just that, very blessed! It is something that also needs to be taken seriously. As I said before the things I learn everyday from my students, other teachers and colleagues are lifetime lessons that I know will benefit my future and in return I hope I am giving back just as much!! There is so much happening with education right now. Some of it I agree with and some of it I am still trying to understand the benefits, but when it comes right down to it, it's all about the students. Of course it's important to be teaching them skills such as reading, math, problem solving, critical thinking and writing. I am a huge advocate of learning and stretching your brain to think out of the box. We can't forget to not get so swallowed up in these issues where we lose the love of what we do and who we are doing it for. If we let the love, encouragement, support, structure, creativity get swallowed up by worrying that's when we are in trouble. It's an amazing opportunity to be a teacher and I have loved my first year!! :)

Here are a few pictures of the fun things we have done lately…I wish I could show off how cute my students are and show their faces!! haha :)