Saving Lives

My dad is a pharmacist and for awhile he worked at a prison. This was after he retired and he had the opportunity for a some extra income. He worked at the prison pharmacy just a few hours a week and when he didn’t, well, he was golfing and cooking, and sitting in the barber shop. My mom would see him leaving and she would ask him, “Where are you going?” His response was always the same….”I’m going to save lives.” My mom would chuckle, because he actually meant it. You see, my father felt, and still feels, that his job was to catch the doctor’s mistakes. Some doctors prescribe a drug that could have negative interactions with medications the patient is already taking. He/pharmacists are in the background and they still save lives.

Teaching and educating the youth in our country/world is the same. Strong and knowledgeable educators save lives. You may think I’m being metaphorical, but I can assure you that I am being quite literal. Think about it.

Interacting with children everyday makes your role in their lives extremely important. Children are impressionable. The way a teacher talks, speaks and acts can have a profound effect on a student. Some educators may not realize this, and in fact, they may choose to ignore this because it puts too much pressure on them. I mean, some people want to come into a classroom, share their knowledge, have the children do the work, then leave for the day. They want to stop thinking about the kids, about the job, about the weight of what they are doing, but, if you are a true educator, down in your soul, this is impossible. You can’t teach without taking care. You can’t spread a love of discovery and thoughtfulness, and ingenuity without connecting with the students. Without a true connection to the boys and girls sitting in seats in the room where you work, well you might as well be a computer program because people can learn material from just about anything or anyone, but they can only live the material, ingest the material, and expand on the material when someone inspires them. And this, folks, is a huge responsibility.

Everyday I walk into school a little bit tired, a bit annoyed, and sometimes even grumpy. I want to huff and puff my frustration and I would just love to turn my back and walk away from the drama, you know, after I tell someone off really well. But I don’t. It’s strange really. As soon as the bell rings and when that first baby walks around the bend or out of the bus, I smile. I can’t help it. I hug, I tease, I prod, I cheer, and I sing every single day. The children in my care know that I am there for them so if they have a problem, well, they know I’m there to listen. And I do listen, and nod, and share, and sometimes even cry with them. I rejoice when they are brilliant and I get angry when I fail them. I take responsibility for their woes and I feel pride when they aspire. The kids know I enjoy them because they are the reason I do this. I will always try my best with each of them. I will always listen. I will always hear. And, I will always do whatever it takes to meet their needs. Why? Because every day I enter my school….I save lives.

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Graduation Blues

I have worked with a variety of amazing students from three years to 8th grade. Some of these students got great grades, some struggled, some were defiant, some talked way too much, some had a fabulous sense of humor, and some had the biggest heart and bravest soul you ever saw. All of these children were brilliant, in their own special way. 

As a teacher, I have encouraged, motivated, pushed, and helped my students learn. Sometimes they got frustrated and sometimes I got frustrated. My job was to get right back up and try again and teach them to do the same. I have tried to instill the virtue of perseverance to all of my students. There are days when they are mad at me and days when they laughed at my uniquely ridiculous teaching strategies. It’s my job and it is my passion.

Tonight, my son needed me to be that nurturing teacher. I had to tell him that sometimes in life you do everything right, work hard, be responsible, and still someone else gets the recognition. It may not be your moment to shine, maybe it is that other student’s moment. Life does not stop at high school graduation. Life is not defined by your high school accomplishments. Life is so much more.

One day at a time, one challenge at a time, one victory at a time, it will all happen. Patience is a virtue, it is just not an easy one to understand sometimes. The teacher in me says, hang in there, you can be anything you want to be, the mom in me wants to hold him close and tell him everything will be alright. Life is a journey that you must make your own way through, but tonight I wish I could make that way a little easier for one special high school graduate, my brilliant son, Isaac.

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