Now all I have to teach you is one word–everything.

That quote was from The Miracle Worker.  Although I will not be returning to the front of a classroom this year (tear), I do know some of the finest teacher’s are returning to school Monday.  Some, like my sister Jessica, are actually welcoming students through their doors and into their classroom’s Monday.  Some others, are starting the wonderful thing known as “back to school workshops.”

Although I do have a heavy heart today because it was not my choice to step out of the classroom, but a choice that was made for me, I also have great hope because I am starting out on a new journey, a new path.  A different one than I ever imagined myself on…just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s worse or better.  And I know deep in my heart and soul that I will one day again stand in the front of a classroom again in some capacity.  Until that day, I can find other ways to feed the part of my soul that is starving for teaching children.

Right at this moment, today, there is not one thing in my life as I had imagined it.  And that’s truly the gift of life, because it’s not about our plan for our life, but where our feet take us.  I couldn’t have ever imagined a life so full and wonderful and difficult all at the same time.  And if I had a magic wand, I honestly think I can say with every fiber of my being today, I wouldn’t change a thing.

OK, so that’s a lie.  I would change the amount of zero’s behind the numbers in our checking account (I had to add that…it was beyond my control…my apologies).  However, I believe if we keep plugging away, we’ll get there too.  Anything worth having doesn’t come easily.

But enough about me…I want to write for the teacher’s who are returning to their classrooms today.  For the teacher who cries as if her leg is broken when she is refused services for her student that needs it so desperately and when she actually DOES break her foot, another teacher has to literally drag her out of her classroom because she’s convinced she can teach anyways.

For the teacher who has taught for nearly 3 decades and is still the first one in the parking lot in the morning and the last to leave in the evening.  She has never stopped pushing herself to be the very best teacher she could ever be.  She is an inspiration to newer teacher’s who think they know everything there is to know about kids when they walk in to their classroom the first day because she’s never stopped learning, not even for one day.  For the teacher whose heart and passion for teaching only gets bigger each year and encompasses not only each and every student but also her team around her.

I want to write for the teacher who maybe hasn’t taught for quite so long, but is so skilled at her job, to watch her teach is watching an artist at work.  When you walk past her door, no matter the time, if you pause for even just a second, you can hear the learning that’s taking place.  She is fair but demands and only accepts excellence.  She is very even tempered and thinks logically, which results in being an enormous support for her team as she is able to explain a different perspective.  Although, her heart is also in her classroom and in her students, when she knows something isn’t right, she’ll speak her mind.

This teacher may have young children at home and although she comes in early each day and brings stacks of work home with her to finish grading after reading Goodnight Moon to her own children and tucking them into bed.  I have the most respect for how she divides her time and attention.  When she is at school, her students have her entire attention and heart and as soon as she climbs into her car to pick up her own kids after school, she is the best mom and can’t wait to hear about their day and drive them to dance class where she stays to help them complete their homework even though one of her children might be caught saying (every great once and awhile) “but you’re not my teacher.”

For the teacher who makes learning so much fun, the students don’t even realize they’re learning.

There are so many of these teacher’s returning to school today and they have my unending gratitude and admiration.  Are there less than great teacher’s out there?  Of course…but for every bad teacher there are 10 that put their entire heart and soul into their students’ each day and they make all the difference.  And we, as a society, reap those benefits.

So as you are out shopping this week, pick up a thank you card (whether or not you have children in school) and write a simple note of thanks to your favorite teacher from when you were a child (chances are Mrs. Roy is still in the same classroom) and send it.  It will mean the world to that teacher, that they made a difference for you and it will be worth it, even though they are in a classroom with 30 7-year-olds with no AC and when the students run out the door at 3:35 they will be there for many more hours, still baking in the heat.  Bring them a soda or a $5 coupon to Starbucks or Target (dollar section at this time of year is literally heaven for teachers) or just write them a nice note or a simple email thanking them for all they do.  You won’t even know what these simple thoughtful actions will mean…it’s not too much to do for those that give so much, is it?

This is dedicated to all the teaches’ (in one form or another) in my life…past and present!

I’m using this as my spin this week but I will also have another back to school post for my teacher peeps and I know Jen at Sprite’s Keeper didn’t assign this topic to make me sad…but I think this time of year might always be a little hard for me.  THANKS A LOT JEN…I expect more thoughtfulness from you!  Just kidding…;)!!

Get your Spin Cycle on.  The hostess with the mostest is Sprite’s Keeper.

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9 Responses to Now all I have to teach you is one word–everything.

  1. Vince says:

    I wish all teachers were like that. Call me jaded, but my experience with some of my older son’s high school teachers is less than positive. Perhaps the system is different here than in your version of Rochester, but is seems the teachers teach to a lesson plan, not to the kids. There was certainly a LOT of expectations placed on my kid he couldn’t meet. And his guidance counsellor told he, my wife, and I to our face that he could do something we knew he couldn’t, and wouldn’t hear different.

    I know there’s plenty of good teachers out there. Unfortunately, there are some that are not and, at least in NYS, they’re VERY difficult to get rid of.

    Good luck with getting back in the classroom. The schools need more teachers like you.
    Vince recently posted..Trust in the LordMy Profile

  2. Oops, sorry!
    I do love this Spin however, it just overflows with respect for teachers who care about their kids, their jobs, and handle all that stress with aplomb.
    Wonderful words, Kate.
    You’re linked!
    Sprite’s Keeper recently posted..Spin Cycle: A wordy plea for helpMy Profile

  3. Kate says:

    Jen-
    I really expected more from you! 😉 AND I WON!! I WON!! Did I mention I was competitive?
    :) Kate

  4. Kate says:

    Vince-
    That makes me so sad, I’m not even sure I can express it to you. I remember what you wrote about your son’s counselor and that just made me so ANGRY on your behalf. As school is starting up again I certainly hope things improved. It seemed like counselor he’ll have this year had at least half a brain??
    As a parent, I don’t really know how I would handle what was done to your son (and so many other kids who enter school each day). I think it’s unrealistic to expect that you’re never going to run into a bad teacher or school staff, but I guess I like to live in the pretend land of teachers who do their jobs because they want the best for children (5-18 years old), even though I know that’s not reality. I saw a little bit about how crazy New York state is about getting rid of bad teachers, it seems impossible. However, I feel like I’m on the other end. Here you have no protection for the first 3 years and then after that you’re tenured and you have to hit a kid to be fired. I was in the part where I wasn’t protected and so I could be fired because my administrator didn’t like how I walked down the hall. To me, it seems like the system is broken. No other occupation would stand for something like this. To lay off based entirely on seniority is just asinine. If I had a surgeon who killed 50% of his patients, but had worked there the longest and the young surgeon who had 98% success rate, I would be really upset if they laid off the good doctor. AND I would take my business elsewhere. This is not so possible to do in public schools, especially in the parts of the country where people are really struggling. I don’t have the answers, but I do know someone needs to find some solutions and there are certainly people smart enough out there. It’s truly craziness.
    I am very sad that you’ve had more negative experiences than positive with your sons’ education and I’m truly afraid this is the case for so many people around.
    :) Kate

  5. VandyJ says:

    I have only had a child in school for, well, this will be his fourth year. We have already hit a bad teacher and a good teacher. Luckily for us the good teacher came after the bad one and restored my son’s enjoyment of school.
    VandyJ recently posted..Spin Cycle–What I Did on My Summer VacationMy Profile

  6. CaJoh says:

    It is unfortunate that most teachers are not respected enough. I was watching The Concrete Jungle the other day and realized that the struggles that teachers face hasn’t changed one bit.

    Here’s hoping that more teachers love what they do and can overcome the shortcomings that are thrust in their faces by those who do not respect teachers enough (students and administrators).
    CaJoh recently posted..Trailblazer vs. Bridge BuilderMy Profile

  7. Kate says:

    CaJoh-
    I haven’t ever watched The Concrete Jungle, I may have to check it out! Have you watched Waiting for Superman? That’s a powerful movie!
    :) Kate

  8. Kate says:

    Vandy-
    It’s really so sad because it doesn’t take much (especially K-5 where they only get one teacher all day) for a teacher to ruin learning for a student. Hopefully it will be like for your son, where a great teacher later will grow his enjoyment of school more!
    :) Kate

  9. Pseudo says:

    Well, as a teacher who returned to the classroom several weeks ago, I think you for this. I am already at that mid quarter point where I am either grading or exhausted o the weekends. It’s nice to read something so sweet and inspiring.

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