Teaching…it’s a job like no other. It allows an individual to follow the development of little humans and their intellect—it is daunting, to say the least. Sometimes it scares me to think about the influence I have upon the lives of children. In essence, I spend more time with them than their parents during the school year. We eat together, play together, learn together, and laugh together. Teaching weaves itself into my very soul and often drains me emotionally. Sometimes, I think I really can’t handle another moment.
Last week, I found myself doubting my calling. Nothing seemed to go right and for some reason, more than half my class couldn’t remember that there are actually rules to follow at school. I was wondering why I didn’t shoot for the lucrative life of an astronaut. I was actually praying for God to send me that farmer I had always wanted to marry so I could quit teaching and bake cookies all day. I told my students one day that I was flat worn out. I said, “My mind is tired, my heart is tired, and my body is tired.” I heard one of them say, “I think she’s going to have a breakdown!” It was an interesting observation. A third grade student had the perception to see that his teacher was sinking quickly; albeit for reasons he didn’t even understand.
That night, I went home and I “googled” everything I could think of—alternative career choices for a teacher that was slowly losing her mind. What could I do with my life that would be rewarding yet stress-free? I searched curiously for something that I could truly look forward to facing each day. A job where I would have a real reason to show up. I realized that I have lots of interests—music, baking, writing, outer space, trees…the list goes on and on. At the end of the night, I was back at square one. I went to bed and felt defeated, useless, and unmotivated.
With the morning came the feeling that had become all too familiar—dread. I dreaded waking up and going to school. After all, I wasn’t accomplishing anything once I got there. But, I inherited my dad’s quality of perseverance; so I got up and went through the motions of preparing for my day. I showed up at school at 7:25 A.M and rushed into my classroom to “hide out.” As I was throwing papers here and there and allowing my mind to roam beyond the confines of the school, I looked up to see one of my students standing in front of me with a bouquet of flowers. He quietly said, “These are for you. My mammaw let me pick them at her house. I picked the other at my house—for you.”
As I looked into Hayden’s eyes, I knew that we had that teacher-student connection. The connection where words do not have to be spoken. In some special way, we had touched each other’s life and a bond had been formed. Somehow, through the chaos and fear, Hayden had seen my heart—a heart that loves her students, a heart that wants them to learn new and exciting things, a heart that desires to laugh out loud with them just because it feels good. It took the wisdom of a little boy to bring me back to reality. I already have the job of a lifetime and I have twenty perfect reasons to show up.