I have already posted how thankful I am for my job, the people I get to work with, and the school I get to teach in. But, there's another big aspect to that I forgot. The major reason I love my job, the people I work with, and the school I teach in....The kids.
You really can't be a good teacher if you don't love kids. Kids are the heart and soul of the teaching profession. They are the sponges that soak up the information I pour in to them. The testament to my teaching abilities. The reason I drive to work excited every day about what the day has in store for me.
I could be thankful just to have students to teach. But, there's more....oh, so much more that I have to be thankful about when it comes to the kids in my classroom each day, the kids I see in the hallways, and the kids that have become close friends to my own biological children.
Let's start with the fact that the kids I work with make me thankful that I can be thankful for so many things. Being thankful for having a father for my children, a comfortable home, parents that I am very close with, a job that provides the basic necessities and small luxuries. And those are just the things I've been thankful for this past week. That doesn't even skim the surface of all the thankfulness I'll be showing for the remaining days of November.
How quickly and easy it is for me to forget that many of the kids in my school don't have some or all of those things. While I'm spouting off about my wonderful new home and the love and support given to me by my parents and a man that loves me, I am reminded that some of my kids are thankful they had a meal the night before or that they received a phone call from a missing parent that they haven't seen in years. They are thankful that they were able to see their parents for a few minutes before going to bed or before going to school, which doesn't happen very often.
As I celebrate and give thanks for my job, the people I work with, and the school I teach in, I have students that are thankful for the same school because it provides a place they can feel safe for a few hours, a place that provides a couple of meals, and a place they can enjoy a small taste of childhood without having to worry about caring for younger siblings or taking care of responsibilities that only adults should be taking care of.
The kids I have the privilege of working with each day are just as much teachers to me as I am to them.
Some of the most important lessons I get to learn from them each and every day is that the simple things in life are the things I should never take for granted. That no matter how bad I think my life may be, or how much I complain... I should be truly and utterly thankful for everything I have been blessed with... because there are so many that don't have those things. And, that despite some of the hardships thrown their way, they are still able to keep a smile on their face, laugh, and enjoy their time with me. So, I most certainly better keep a smile on my face and laughter in my heart.
The other day, after coming home from work and discovering that we didn't have water because we had another leak that needed to be fixed, I didn't get mad or upset. In fact, I took to BitStrip to create a humorous comic about the situation and posted it to Facebook. My principal was the first one to comment, making light of the fact that the first thing I did was BitStrip about it. While some people would panic, get all flustered, and be upset about it... I wasn't. And the main reason for that was because I actually reminded myself that being without water for 24 hours wasn't a big deal....it would be back once the pipe would be fixed. I should just be thankful that I had running water in the first place, and that I'd have it again once the problem was repaired.
That's definitely NOT the reaction I would have had a couple of years ago. I would have probably cried. Called my dad, panicking. Thought that the world hated me because something bad had happened. But, stuff like that doesn't have the same impact on me anymore. I am able to look at situations such as this one with a different set of eyes.
Over the course of the past year and a half, I have held a child in tears because his dad had left (again), I have had to comfort a child whose parents had suddenly left to go back to Mexico, I have taken extra food from the cafeteria to give to a student because they told me that they hadn't eaten since being at school the day before, listened to stories about a parent or sibling dying, comforted children who have shared that they didn't know where they were going to live because they lost their house, and there's more... so much more that I could share.
And each time I've held a child in my arms, or sat and listened to them talk, or have let them sit in a quiet area just so that they can have a few minutes to close their eyes and rest....my heart grows a little more. I realize how much I care for these kids, how much I love them, and how much I am willing to do to make sure that the time they are with me is meaningful and enjoyable.
So, today and everyday I am so very thankful for the kids I am truly blessed to work with. I love them all so very much. More than they probably realize. I am thankful that I was chosen to be a part of their lives.
To be able to work with the kids I work with keeps me grounded and humbled. And how could I not be thankful for that?