The longer I have been a teacher the more I have realized that sometimes my job is to sit back and listen. It isn’t to always talk at you or to you. Sometimes you need me to hear the words you think no one actually hears. The words that are sometimes hard to hear you say.
I want to stop you. I want to say, “I am afraid for you.” But you don’t need that from me in that moment. You need to to smile and hug you and tell you, “You can do this. It will be hard, but I believe in you.” And I do.
Sometimes on your path I am finding I am your last stop or the stop off to the next one. But most of the time I just sit praying, that you hear my words that you can and do deserve better in this world. I want to follow you on your path, so you know someone is there and has your back for those moments of doubt. You would look back and I would be standing there smiling and shaking my head yes.
But there is a time when that is no longer my role. There is a time when I have to watch you jump off that cliff and wonder if you will drop or fly and I hold my breath as I wait. The wait never gets easier or less emotional.
The reality is that I know some of you will fall and I will wonder if I did enough to offer you a safety net. I will question if I played a role. But most of the time that is my path impeding on your path and I begin to recognize we all have different paths for our lives and we all need the time and space to find them.
But I can’t lie and say as your teacher I am not scared for you. The world is hard and cruel, but in that hardness sometimes there are just some absolutely breathtaking rewards. Sometimes they are people, sometimes they are moments and sometimes they are just a fleeting thought that corrects your path.
My biggest hope is that once you reach your destination and you see your growth and change I hope that you still see me standing there as you look back reminding you, “You can do this. It will be hard, but I believe in you.” And I do.