Saturday, September 26, 2009

Remind Me Again, Lord~~ WHY Am I A Teacher?

The first several weeks into this new school year, I was overwhelmed, frustrated, and exhausted. Implementing behavior/discipline plans, learning a whole new curriculum, learning a new school and their systems takes a toll physically and mentally. Some days, I really felt like throwing in the towel. I was questioning my decision to teach, and my abilities, for the umpteenth time. Going from 6 students to 19 is not a piece of cake or walk in the park. lol

For some, teaching is just another career choice. Chosen for the time off or convenient hours. (Almost NEVER for the pay, though. LOL) It is sometimes considered the "perfect career for a mom." (Don't get me wrong--- those are very legitimate things to consider before choosing a career.) For most, however, it is also a calling-- a ministry. That's the way Ann Hanna, my favorite elementary teacher, approached it. That's the way MANY of the excellent, caring professionals I've loved most of my life, approached it. They're the reason I wanted to teach. I never wanted a "job." I wanted a "life calling." When Shelbi entered kindergarten, I went back to school to accomplish that. That was 12 years ago. The first time I set up my own classroom, I felt I'd made it. I was beyond excited! I was going to change the world--- one student at a time. Talk about delusions of grandeur! HA Little did I know how much my students would change ME.

That initial enthusiasm waned over the next few years, even though I know, for some kids, I DID make an impact. I get hugs from 6 feet tall former students when I see them. Usually, I get hugs from parents of those kids, too. I remember most of them. I love all of them. But sometimes I get discouraged and that was going on this year.
Honestly, I hadn't been considering the ministry side of my job very much lately. I was more focused on the "not enough hours in the day" side of it. Until this past week.

For the first several weeks of school, I'd been struggling with a student with discipline issues. The behavior escalated and I made contact with the mother. She told me she'd get on to him, but added that his Daddy had been in the hospital out of town for the past three weeks, was still in there, and she wasn't able to be with her children much. (He had behavior issues long before this, but it explained why it wasn't improving.) Later the principal told me she'd talked to the child's grandmother. The dad had bone cancer and wasn't expected to live! The mom was trying to be with her husband as much as possible, while at the same time trying to make sure her five (repeat FIVE) little boys were taken care of in her absence. So, here's this little boy with a sick, dying father, and an absent (NOT by choice) mom. What a load on a six year old! Several days later, we were told the Daddy lost his fight and a little boy had lost his Daddy. The other children and I wrote him messages and drew pictures. We made it into a book and the custodian dropped it off to him at home. He came back to school the day after the funeral. He was so sweet, hugging on me all day long and me on him. Poor, poor baby. In his homework folder, I found the book his classmates and I had made him. He was safekeeping it! Awww. Helping this child through such a tragic time ~~ what an opportunity for the person he spends 7, almost 8, hours a day with, to show compassion in action! (That person would be me.) What a reminder that my "job" entails more than drilling ABC's and 123's, and that yellow and blue make green. I can teach ~show~ love, mercy, grace, compassion and many other things that WILL make a difference, maybe not change the whole world, but maybe make someones little corner of it better. Pray I continue to grow and learn and that I notice and take every opportunity to minister to my students.

Yesterday one of my students walked beside me, smiled up at me and said, "Mrs. Craft, I just love being in your class." I hugged her, swallowed the enormous lump in my throat, blinked back my tears, and sincerely replied, "That's so sweet. I love being in your class, too."

Thanks, Lord, for the reminder.


  1. Man- you have me swallowing a lump in my throat! So sweet. I know your students love being in your class! They have a very compassionate woman to learn from all year. I am sure they will be looking back on this yr with fondness, as they grow up. :)

  2. It is so good to hear from a teacher's perspective. I have
    only taught in daycares... with little one's. ( It was challenging
    enough that I have not yet gone on to get my teaching degree).
    :-D With that said, to hear your insecurities... you loss of
    "grand expectations" and how you have come into this new
    curriculum... these new challenges.... Everything you feel as a
    teacher, I feel as a mother right now.

    I had this grand idea of mother hood... how I would do a better
    job than my mother did. But these past two weeks... I have felt
    more like a failure. My youngest is such a challenge... that this
    past week the little MDO church program she is in only three days
    a week told me, that they cannot continue to keep her. She is
    only Three... and already expelled! A part of me laughs.. but a
    larger part of me aches.... My oldest daughter is thriving at this
    private school... but my youngest can't keep up with her age
    group and has so many other developmental problems... and I
    can't seem to find help.

    Like your last post.. I too am behind on my blogging. I write
    short stories for little magazines here and there... but lately
    I am too depressed and frustrated.

    So thanks for the post... nice to know someone else is going
    through emotional ups and downs. :-)

  3. Update: This little boy has made two or three trips to detention since I wrote this post. I'm still trying to be understanding, but still struggling with behavior issues. Still loving on him, still trying to get through. Pray for me to have more patience and him to have patience with me. :)
    He went to detention today, but promised me he'd do better so that he can stay with me every day instead of with the "detention lady." (I had told him that he obviously would rather be with Mrs. Dianne than with me and that he was hurting my feelings.) Hey, if it works... ;)

  4. no doubt this post shows that you are a very loving and an understanding teacher...
    This is my First year as a Teacher and was wondering why am I a teacher....???
    This post has helped me recall the reasons for which I choose teaching as my profession..... Thanks...!!!!
    May God Bless you...!!!

  5. this post has hellped me recall the reason ..... "why I Choose Teaching as my Profession....???"