This June I am wrapping up my 15th year teaching 4th grade, and my son is completing his Kindergarten year. With this milestone for both of us, I can’t help but think of all the students (about 300!) with whom I’ve worked with. It’s amazing to me that some are already “real adults” with jobs!
Each and every student holds a special place in my heart. I’m blessed to continue to have many in my life, thanks to social media and a great alumni director. While packing up my classroom, and changing gears to summer camp director (aka mom), I realized I have a lot of thanking to do to my former students.
Thank you for all you have taught me over the past 15 years. Working with each and every one of you has changed my life. You are all blessings who make me proud, which is why I always cry, happy and sad tears, on the last day. Some of us clicked better than others, but I learned something from each of you.
You have helped me be a better person. I have more empathy and compassion every year. I also thank you for making me a fabulous mom. All the years before I had my boys were great practice, but even seven years into parenthood, I learn my best parenting lessons from you.
It was as a teacher that I first learned rules are necessary to help with boundaries, but rules are sometimes meant to be broken. While Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is 75 years old, they stand the test of time. If you are tired, hungry or feeling unsafe, nothing I want to teach will stick. So the personal stuff does matter the most.
As the years have progressed, I have increased recess and decreased homework because you have taught me times have changed. What worked at the beginning of my career doesn’t anymore. I learned so much about being an allergy mom from the multiple students with allergies. Through these relationships, I am better able to support my son, and for that I’m forever grateful.
I promise to keep you all, and all who follow, close to my heart. While the piece of paper I received 14 years ago declared me fit to be a teacher, it’s really all of you who taught me how to be a great teacher.