This year started out my strongest year of teaching to date and I honestly and truly believe that it still was. But that is because I realized that it is okay to be imperfectly perfect. There are times when teaching you can feel yourself hitting your stride. I did it. It was honestly probably only the second time I had done it in my short career. Most of the time when you aren’t in your stride you can feel each bump, misstep and failure. In order to know if things work we have to try them. That is probably the most beautiful part of teaching for me. The starting over and starting new. It is an almost minute by minute thing in the classroom.
But then November happened when I pulled myself out of denial and realized Kyle’s issue was so much bigger than what I believed it to be.
And my light. It just burnt out. Most of my time and energy was spent getting through days, dr. appts and raising three girls. I am grateful that I basically had a repeat schedule of the previous year, so most of my lessons were planned and I just needed to work on the things that didn’t fit. But my sunshine went out. In my life, I have been handed crappy circumstances, but I never EVER let it beat me.
But this gut punch knocked me down. It knocked me down hard. There were probably some days I should have just stayed home and licked my wounds or even been more of a mom or wife. I came in and cried. I came in sullen and beaten and ready to give up. But I kept coming in. If I gave up, that would be me giving up on them. I won’t ever do that. That is why I teach.
Somehow, someway I have become personally invested in every single student that has walked through my classroom door. Often I know their hurts, their wants and needs. And many people will say, “Yea, that is a part of teaching.” And it is. But what happens or has happened is hard to explain. And this year I wasn’t me. Not after November.
I still tried really hard, but I became bitter to the cruelty of life. I became cynical and hesitant to care because caring equals hurting. That was something different for me. I have never really been that person. It wasn’t until March when I finally just admitted that I wasn’t myself and I was angry. I was angry with God. I was angry with life and the unfairness of it all.
But remember I am a teacher. I get to refresh. And I did. Finally, in April, I talked to my students and I owned it. And what happened is exactly why I will always defend against this idea that this generation is so self centered. Yea they can be. But then I remember the day I found out Kyle was having surgery. I rushed myself to bathroom with swollen eyes and tears streaming down my face. Just as I am doing this, it is a passing period. Kids stopped me even with my shooing of them and threats of tardies. They hugged me. They walked me where I needed to go and they hugged me. And what kids was it? It was the ones you would least expect. The ones that seem rough and tumble like they could give a hoot about my personal life.
And then one that actually do seem like they cared. They kept me moving. They reminded me it was okay not to be okay. And sat with me and cried. Everyday asking how it was going and the emails I received while Kyle was in the hospital were amazing. That is love. That is what I realized I needed to focus on. So when someone is hurting they care. They cared more than some adults did in my life. They kept me moving and in that movement I managed to find me again.
The process hasn’t been easy. My family went through so much and we constantly teeter on the verge of change. And yes I have a bruised heart and soul. But I am recovering because Love ALWAYS wins. That is love of my family, love of my profession and love of my life.