The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, October 4, 2013

This is Why I Teach

       A few days ago I got an email from a former student. Kendra had been in my 4th grade class; now she's a freshman in college. It's been years...

     Most people think teachers remember the "challenging" students the most--the kids who made them buy hair dye every six weeks every month every afternoon. Perhaps some educators do dwell more on the tougher-nuts-to-crack than the rest of their students. In my opinion, though, something happens in the classroom that's similar to what happens when a woman gives birth: some magical liquid courses through her body, ensuring she does not remember the excruciating pain and thus rendering her willing to have another child somewhere down the road.

      Teaching is like that. Full of expectations. Exciting. Sometimes painful. And the changes that happen to your body are downright horrifying...The students who never leave my head or my heart are the gifted writers, the kids who overcome incredible obstacles, the students who are exemplary role models...The tough times shed away, leaving me excited about each new school year.

        Kendra was in my 4th grade class the year I did a research project with the National Writing Project. Even at the age of 10, she wrote stuff that had such depth, and yet it seemed to be effortless for her.

        She's beginning a nursing program. I only hope she makes the time to continue writing...

         What friend or colleague has recently contacted you, like a blast from the past? Tell, please.