Today is the first day of spring or the vernal equinox. At times in the spring semester I feel as though the “mean season” has hit. The same students who don’t turn in work on time or at all still don’t turn in work. I want them to choose the better choice of getting the work in on time; this will make them a more productive citizen in the future. The kids whose parents don’t show them real love by setting boundaries are paying for it dearly. I just want to grab those “parents” and shake them senseless and ask, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO THIS CHILD?” and “How dare you raise a child with anything less than unconditional love?” and “Can you even imagine the damage you have already done to this baby who just wanted you to love him or her as is?” I love and care for them, but I am not their Mama. I cannot bring them home with me and nurture them in the evenings and on weekends. We have standardized testing days scheduled in the weeks ahead, and the stakes get higher each year. I have a tutorial group that meets once a week after school for an hour to work on reading strategies and practice their skills. At times even I feel overwhelmed and want to just hid in a corner and say, “Forget it!”
Then a student will say or do something that touches my heart and lifts up my spirits. They may give a sweet hug or smile just because they love you. They may joke with you about trying to join your class even though you know their name isn’t on your roll sheet. They show up with sausage kolaches for a fake morning detention just to spend time in your classroom. They care about their grades. They pay attention to your feelings and moods. They put their names, games, and locales so that you can possibly see them play their sport outside of the school setting on your own personal time. Their parents LOVE to see their students’ teachers at events. These students make you cry at the end of the year because you know your time with them has come to an end. They make you miss them fiercely the first few days of summer, then you accept the separation and relax and restore with family and friends. When it’s time to pick up schedules in the fall, you hope to see these kids again and see how they’ve grown up and become even more precious than you ever thought they could. You know what, they are the reason I get up each morning and go into that school house. Yes, I want to see them all succeed, but the ones who love me and want me around are the ones I remember most fondly. They are the ones I will always want to know the good news about whether it’s academic, athletic, or artistic success and endeavors. They are the reason my heart sings.