Thursday, March 15, 2007

Everything

People go into teaching for different reasons...to make a difference, work with children, learn every day....no one ever goes into it for the money! What you don't realize until you are teaching--at least at the elementary level--is that you will become The World to these little people.

It's funny, I forget that sometimes. I forget just how much I mean to them. Then something will happen and all of a sudden it will hit me--these little guys look up to me so much. For one year of their life I am everything. OK, OK, I'm not crazy enough to think I'm as important as say, an uncle or a cousin.....but I'm definitely pretty darn important to them.

Today that point was driven home to me. It was nearing the end of the day, I had ten minutes to kill, so we decided to make paper fortune tellers to practice our multiplication facts. (Anything to make multiplication fun!) One of my students knew how to fold the paper (thank goodness too, because I certainly didn't. I had the directions, but really, it's so much easier to get one of the kids to show everyone!). So I invited him to come to the front of the class to be the teacher. He got started on his directions, and a colleague walked in. I stood in the back of the room and kept an eye out while I chatted away. What I saw was this little guy, rather shy and reserved, but well behaved, undergo a transformation. He turned into me. He started using my words, he even walked around the way I do and he (and this cracked me up) even threatened to pull out our yellow cards! (Classroom management system: one yellow card = warning, face down = time out, second yellow card = loss of recess minutes). I started laughing to see this little shy guy imitate me, but later on I realized just how carefully they notice, just how much they see and just how much they internalize. I mean--he turned into me. Crazy. It reminds me that for one year of their lives, I really am Everything.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lisa,
I love the card system. I wish I had that about 29 years ago! I'll bet that all of the kids at your school would love to have you for their teacher.
Mom S

SRogis said...

I really liked this post, as it reminds teachers to keep the important, long term issues in mind rather than focusing on just the smaller, hour-to-hour issues of the job. Although I usually work with older children, this is an important aspect to keep in mind with them too- they may not show it as much as younger kids, but teachers are important in students' lives at any grade level.

mcisrae said...

Haha. That's really cute. Even teenagers imitate their teachers. Sometimes in high school when my classmates and I had presentations to do in front of the class we would imitate our teachers. Yeah, they sure got a kick out of that!
Children like to impress their teachers, and I know this from my own experience and from my own observations. Teachers have the power to inspire children even more than parents do, and sometimes that's a good thing. I can't wait to be a positive role model for children, and the icing will definately be on the cake when some of them come back to me many years later and thank me for all of my hard work.
By the way, I remember my elementary teachers all the way back to the third grade, and I am 21 years old. Trust me, I haven't forgotten them. I still remember their names, their faces, their personalities, and even some lessons we had in class. I just like to remember that no matter what grade level I am teaching, I will be remembered by thousands.

jfm said...

That story is so cute, I'm sure it is so rewarding to see just how much students respect you.

I went to a teacher of the year seminar this year and during this teacher's speech he told us that "as teachers we need to realize that we will affect so many more kids than we are aware of," and your story is a perfect example of this.

It really is true that as teachers you are everything in a lot of students' lives for a whole year, other than their family. Situations like this one I'm sure make teaching worth it, especially seeing how much children look up to you.