Monday, May 28, 2007

Can I Get a Witness?!?

"Kathrine, I am the teacher and you are the student. Please remember that."

-Mrs. Kunkle, Kathrine's Kindergarten teacher

I guess that being bossy comes with the territory of being the oldest child. However, if you are especially lucky, you are born with a strong will too, so that no matter what people tell you, you are either A) right or B) really right. I was one such child, with the added bonus of perfectionism and a strong desire to please. Case and point: My second grade teacher gave me a 95 on a coloring assignment. Being the strong willed, bossy perfectionist I was, I took it upon myself to march up to her and inform her that she must have made some kind of grading error on my paper. There was absolutely no way that MY exquisite coloring job deserved anything less than a 100. I pointed out to her that while other students may have outlined the jungle animals in marker, I took the time to outline the jungle animals in a darker, corresponding shade of colored pencil (which was MUCH MORE difficult, of course). I then went home and cried because I was afraid I had hurt her feelings (enter my desire to please).

In light of that, I would like to publicly apologize to all those teachers out there who I drove crazy with my intense perfectionism. I never knew how hard your job was until I became a teacher myself. All you teachers out there.....can I get a witness?!? Teaching is tough. It's full of early mornings and late nights, last minute ideas that succeed and carefully planned lessons that fail. It's enforcing rules and cutting some slack (but not so much slack that you are no longer enforcing rules). It's making mistakes and being forgiven. It's grading papers and defending your grades. It's mediating and listening. It's giving second chances and "laying the smack down." It's singing and dancing and crying and praying. It's apologizing. It's moments of bliss and moments when you feel like you've been punched in the stomach. It's being silly. It's being serious. It's knowing when to walk away, while never being able to "leave it at work." It's pleading, coaxing, and encouraging. It's putting band aids on fingers and on hearts. It's letting yourself be ministered to by the love of a child. It's balance, balance, balance. It's self-control, self-control, self-control. It's patience, patience, patience. And when it's all said and done, it's rewarding beyond anything I ever expected. It's 50 students who I will always love. It's being pulled up to the front of the room by your students to be showered with compliments. It's 50 students who took the time to share their hearts with me and my co-workers. It's packing up, walking out, and closing the door to a classroom where your life was changed for the better.

To my students: I am so thankful for you. I will always treasure my relationships with every one of you.

-Mrs. P