What’s My Passion?

What’s my passion? This is a funny question. I’ve heard it a lot lately and Amy and I have incorporated the word “passion” into our children’s book series, “What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?”

So what’s your passion? Have you ever thought about it? If you could choose your profession all over again, would you still have chosen the same career? If not, then why?

Teaching is what I’ve always wanted to do. Even when I was a stay at home mom, I always knew I wanted to go back to the classroom and teach. As the years go by, I would have to say that education has become my passion in all its forms. That phrase changes everything really because it’s much more broad. I am happy educating.

How lucky am I that I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I always knew where I was heading. It’s so funny because now that I’m here, I regret nothing. I don’t even regret leaving the public school system to stay home with my babies. Yes, the money would be nice. Yes, if I would have stayed, my retirement would look a heck of a lot better. But…..I am exactly where I’m supposed to be at this very moment. I am teaching children I adore, I have children at home which I have helped shape into beautiful human beings, and I work with fantastically amazing people. I know that wherever I am led in my professional life, it will be where I’m supposed to be.

There are so many people out there who are unsure of their professional paths. So many are discontented and angry at the job they are forced to do every single day. Maybe these people did not have all the choices I had growing up. Maybe their parents weren’t open minded, or didn’t even have an idea of the options open for their children. Maybe they weren’t allowed to dream like I was.

I want ALL my children to be able to dream. I want them to explore their potentials and their interests. I want them to find they passions and to reach for them. I want them to live their dreams.

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Lori and I taught a professional development class this weekend and met some amazingly dedicated teachers and administrators. Two of the women were actually retired and went back to work part-time because they felt so passionately about education and helping children. We had a lot of wonderful discussions which helped us to be motivated as well, although that is what we were actually teaching to them.

Teaching is a profession that gets into your soul. You cannot turn it off. It is quite apparent when we meet these great people and begin to talk education. We are lucky because we are surrounded daily by magnificent and dedicated teachers at work. It gives us hope when we meet others from all over the state that also have the passion and desire to make schools the best they can be.0724141218

Teaching the Motivating the At-Risk Student Class, sure motivated us!

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Our students are acting like it is the last week of school. There are meltdowns, smart remarks, pats on the head, pushes in the hall, various materials thrown across the room, and a lot of work that needs to be completed.  And yet, it is only APRIL!

We have now entered the “stay alive” mode. I am trying, my fellow coworkers are trying, we are s-l-o-w-l-y getting some things accomplished, but the effort is MONUMENTAL!

I hear more horror stories about students who go hungry at night, others who are being told they are worthless by parents, and still more who have to come to school and change in the bathroom into clean clothes we provide for them. What a horrific life some of these children have.

I look at them and think (although they are slightly killing me) I understand why they are acting this way. These kids need us, need the security, the love, attention, food, stability…it is going to end soon.

I am looking forward to the break. But, what is that poor little boy going to do that has abusive parents who will emotionally terrorize him all summer? What about the 3 siblings who will not be headed to the pool, zoo, or library like my kids, they will be sitting at home, washing their own clothes, cooking their own meals, and watching television? Their single parent must work, they should not be home alone, but what does a person do?

How do we fix this? How will these kids ever grow up to know anything better? No wonder there are so many broken adults, there are neglected kids all over our country that are not getting what they need and they grow up to be parents.  Do you think they will know how to parent? Some will try, many will fail.

We teach some of these children every day. It is heart wrenching to think about them and their situations and know there is little we can do. I recently read a line written by a Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University that stated, “Every teacher has at least 2 students whose entire lives depend upon what the teacher does or does not do this year. I hope I am doing something right, I am sure I have more than 2 students sitting in my classroom that are depending on me to do the right thing.

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My parents arrived at my house at around 12:45 last night….or this morning, whichever way you want to say it. My daughter’s high school has Grandparent’s Day today and she invited them late last week. Mom had choir practice until around nine o’clock last night and Dad had to work so they didn’t get in until very late. They live about 2 1/2 hours away so it wasn’t an easy trip for them. But they came. Brenna is super excited. They will spend the day with her in school, eat dinner with us then head back home because Dad has to work tomorrow. It’s an inconvenience, yet they made the effort.

Sean and my families have been there for us throughout our marriage. They have held and attended countless family functions, supported us emotionally through marriage, having babies, job worries, and successes. It means a lot, not only to us but to our children. Our children see a close knit family who stick together and are there for one another. We model love, acceptance, support, and true caring. Many of the children I teach don’t have these same experiences. Many of my students come from broken homes, stressful homes, and hurtful homes. They go through life stressed and worried…at such young ages.

It’s hard to imagine living for survival. Some of my students’ views of their world must be so different than mine. Their values, wants, desires, and needs must be so different also. In order for me to be an effective teacher, I have to get to know them. If I don’t, my days will be nothing but frustration. What I feel is important is not the same for them. I look to the future and they don’t even know if they’ll have one. I think about what I’ll make for dinner and they wonder if they will have dinner. I see the wonder, excitement, and happiness in my own children’s faces and sometimes I just see hurt, mistrust, and disappointment in my students’ faces.

Their needs are completely different than my own which means their learning styles are completely different than mine.

Teaching calls for flexibility and acceptance of the different needs of our students. One size does not fit all. Staffs have to unite for the betterment of the children. Students need to know that we are in it together. They have to feel the love. It truly does take a village.

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So Ordinary…Oh Well

I haven’t written lately and it has bothered me. I wish I was a genius and had all kinds of wisdom to pass along.  I don’t.

Then it hit me, that is why I connect with so many people, especially students who struggle. I am not exceptionally beautiful, smart, competitive, or amazing… I am just an ordinary, regular person. I struggle too. I worry too. I get it, I understand the issues of the everyday person.

My students know they can approach me about anything, they tell me things I don’t want to hear. It makes me wonder how they make it through the day. Oh well, if that is all I am, I am okay with that. I hope I am a safe place, a comfort, and a person they can trust. If that is all I am, that is alright with me.

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