Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What I Needed

There are so many hard things in life. Of course in varying degrees of hardship. Lately, it's been pretty rough for me, but the kind of rough that's not life or death. The persistent, nagging hardship of the day to day life. Getting this 1st year teacher thing down is even harder than I could've imagined. It's impossible to stay on top of things, and dealing with unappreciative, rude students is just salt in the wounds.

Juggling the four million and one thoughts that go through my mind each day is near impossible, and sometimes I wonder if I can do it. If I've made the right choice.

But then little moments, like what just happened less than an hour ago, occur. I was letting my 2nd period class out, when one student paused for a minute at the door and handed me a note. "This is for you," she said. I took it with a gracious "Thank you!" even though I had no idea what it was. I have my prep period next (now), so I sat down at my desk to read the note once the students had cleared out.

Tears immediately started to well in my eyes as I read the sweet, kind words of this single student. Phrases popped out like "I learn so much in this class," "I honestly wouldn't ask for a different teacher," I think kids my age don't realize the impact teachers have," among other thoughtful words. This cognizant and caring student was observant enough to recognize disrespect for what it's worth. Pain and frustration for both student and teacher.

I share this because this really is a message for all of you teachers out there. If you ever have a day when you feel unappreciated and worthless, like you're spinning your wheels, remember the words of this one student of mine projecting to the whole lot of us. "I think kids my age don't realize the impact teachers have." At least one student has realized that, right? And for now, today, in this moment, that's exactly what I needed to keep going.


  1. Megan - First year of teaching is the pits. It feels like it lasts forever (and it does when you're in the thick of it), but once it has past it is in the past -- forever. My first year was beyond hard. By the 100th day of school, I felt a sense of relief since I was more than halfway there. Remember, you are about halfway through this ordeal that you will look back on and laugh about... someday.

    I'm thankful you have a student who recognized your feelings and showed you how much you are treasured. I'm sure more students feel like this, but they're unsure how to express it. As the year goes on, you'll see that more things like this will start to appear.

    Keep a stiff upper lip. Next year WILL be better.

    My best,

  2. Megan - I agree with Stacey on that one, "First year of teaching is the pits!" It's hard, endless, and no one can totally guide you over the constant bumps in the road; however, the rewards, as you have found, far exceed even a great evaluation from your administrator. If one student gives you an ounce of thanks, it will resonate for many, many, many months and serve as a reminder that what you do not only matters, it makes a difference!

  3. Congratulations first year teacher! You have important, challenging work. Three cheers for you!