Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's the Same Thing Only Different

This year things are very different. Same school, same office, same chairs....but something is different. You see, the last few posts have been about the students who misbehave...This post is about the kids who become attached to my heart.

For the last few years, the chairs in the picture above have been overfilled every morning with kids who hang out before school starts. My favorite kids. Wait, did you just read that a teacher is admitting to having favorites? Yep, I said it. Before class starts and after class is over I have a LOT of favorites. They are bound by the same rules during class as everyone else. They are required to have the same punishment as anyone else  (  and sometimes actually held to a MUCH higher standard), but they are my favorites. The thing is, any kid has an equal chance to be on the be a favorite. They just need to show their warmth and caring (or be very funny) or just BE in my presence longer than just the class period.

So, what's new this year? The chairs sit empty much of the time. Their usual inhabitants have moved on to better things (college) and while that is wonderful and important and I am VERY happy about that, it makes things different for me. History has shown that, while there will NEVER be anyone as special to me as those that have gone before, there will be kids that will be very special. It's sort of the circle of life for a teacher. In my case, since I used to teach K-12, I have been with these same kids I guess it is normal to feel a little loss when they leave.

So, the word bittersweet comes to mind. I think about ALL the kids that have come before...the very special ones that make teaching a joy. While I am honored to have been part of their journey, I get a little sad. If you have asked me how the year is going, I have probably responded that it has been a struggle...and this is why. Just finding my new place...finding my next set of favorites...Wondering how the most recent set of favorites are doing in college....wondering if they think back to the blue chairs, and the warmth of this little office? Transitions are hard.

So, TJ is definitely on a journey this year.....but, I don't think it hurts to everyone once in a while, to take a look back and remember the people who have made the journey worthwhile. Really, in what other job can you have a student from ten years ago call you dad? Where else would you get random text message throughout the year that say, "I am thinking about you." Where else would you have Facebook chats that are so funny, you wipe your eyes from laughing? My wife (who has a big heart) has the same sort of relationships with special kids...I often say, "once you have been loved by a Shay, it's forever." So, yeah, I am SO very lucky. So, this year it's the same....only different.

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