I received the following messages from a friend who is a teacher. She wishes to remain anonymous.
TEACHER: Texting you this… Need people to help remind me why I teach when I’m having bad days.
Teaching is one of the hardest jobs. You rarely ever get kudos. You mostly hear what you are doing wrong.
So, in those rare moments when the smoke clears, and you see what truly matters, and you see the little things you do, and the impact they can have, that is the gold you have to hold on to—or you will quit.
*Per request, I have re-posted this article from 2017 in honor of #TeacherAppreciationDay and #TeacherAppreciationWeek Please take the time to encourage teachers, not just this week, but throughout the year.
So Far Today:
I comforted and prayed with a teacher who just had a miscarriage.
I’m standing in the hallway welcoming students, hustling the stragglers to class. Glancing in my classroom, I realize one of my boys is crying. I motion him to come into the hall and he tells me his aunt died from a stroke last night. We talk, I give him a hug and help him grieve. He gives me permission to share with the class. His friends quickly change seats and circle him. No talking or touching; they are middle school boys after all. They support him by just being there. They take out paper and write notes of encouragement—without any prompting. #proud #whyiteach
All before 9:30am.
Another student running up and down the hallway screaming and crying. Counselor trying to help. He refuses… I step into the hallway, take his hands, have him take deep breaths with me to calm him down so he can talk to the counselor without screaming. #whyiteach
Teaching is never about the subject you are teaching. It’s about showing compassion, how to grieve, process anger, express joy. So much emptiness and anger in my students— they just don’t know how to handle life. Happy that I can be here to help them.
Remind me of this when I’m having a really bad day.
Anyone who becomes a teacher because they want kids to learn a subject is missing a huge piece of teaching. I went into teaching because I want to teach children how to successfully live their lives, process emotion, and become productive people. The subject I teach has so little to do with what I really do.
“When will I use this?” they say. (Algebra, science, etc..)
The answer is: “Who really cares? Will you remember that I taught you compassion when your classmate’s aunt died, that I held your hands when you just couldn’t take another step, that I told you I care about you?”
And yes, of course, I’ll give you another chance when you screw up yet again in my class, because this is #whyiteach.
Update 1:00 pm
Two boys try to fight in my classroom. Calmed them down and talked to them. One of the boys tells me he’s not really mad at the other kid. He just watched his dad get arrested and he’s really upset… Sigh. #whyIteach
At lunch, the boy whose aunt died comes up to me. “I’m doing better,” he says quietly, and dashes away.
The boy who was crying and screaming in the hallway comes to class. He’s smiling now, and we’re just figuring it all out. It’s a good day. #whyiteach
I know I could get a job in a better district. My family asks me why I stay all the time.
“Who’s going to teach them if I don’t?” I reply.
“Someone will,” they say.
“But will they care about them? Will they pray over their desks? Will they cry over them? Will they love them?”
I can’t walk away from these kids. Many of them don’t have adults that truly care. They are used to being thrown away, adults not sticking with them. I can’t be one of those people. Teaching is a calling, not a job. I have to teach them how to be cared for and to care for one another, to create community in the classroom. Once I’ve done this, and only then, can I actually teach them any academic content with success. This usually takes a few months to establish.
I have to teach them, I don’t know if someone else will care for them like I do. #whyiteach
A Few Weeks Later:
TEACHER: Why do I teach again? My head hurts, my neck aches…
RACHAEL: Because it matters—maybe for eternity for some of your students. Even though you don’t see it now.
Because they need you even when they don’t want you.
Because you may be the only love, the only Jesus, some will see today and over the next few months.
Because you have to. It’s your calling. #makeadifference #youmatter
Because it costs more to quit than to carry on. #whyyouteach
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NKJV
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength
is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2nd Corinthians 12:9 NKJV
© 2017 Rachael M Colby Tattoo It On your Heart
It has come to my attention that those who read my post entitled, Herald, and also, What #BillyGraham Meant to Me, and perhaps prior posts, in their emails rather than on my website, may not have realized that several of what appeared to be still photos are actually videos. If you click out from the email to read my posts on my website, there are arrows on the photos which indicate that they are videos. Apparently that doesn’t show in emails. I am so sorry I didn’t catch this sooner.
Also, the black box that says, Tattoo It On Your Heart, mid way through Herald is a podcast, (audio with music and sound effects and me reading my poem, He is Risen).
In my Billy Graham post, there was no text with the link in the videos listed under Resources, so some may have mistook those for still photos as well. I did include a text link for the videos included in my actual Billy Graham story, as I usually do in all my posts, but I did not under Resources. Hopefully those who read my post in their emails noticed the links to those videos and all the others in prior posts.
To avoid these issues in the future and so you don’t miss out on any announcements, promotions, updates to posts, or content in the sidebar and other pages on my website, I will be changing the settings for posts received via email. In the future when you receive my posts by email, they will only include an excerpt of the post with a request that you. “Click here to continue reading this post.” This will take you out to my site which will give you access to the most updated version of my post and site and to resources on the other pages. I plan to add a Q&A and a Resources feature to my site soon.
Until I make these changes, please click the title of my posts in your email as that will also take you out of the email to my site to read posts.
*If you read my prior post, What #BillyGraham Meant to me, you may have noticed my whopper of a typo. If so, sorry about that. I’ve corrected it. Must be that staying up writing until 3 o’clock in the morning makes for a fuzzy brain. If you didn’t catch my error—whew! 😉
**If you haven’t yet read my Billy Graham post, or you missed out on some of the videos, please click here to link to: What #BillyGraham Meant to Me
***If you haven’t yet read Herald, or if you missed the videos and podcast in it, please click here to link to: Herald.
Thank you for being a part of my writing journey. God bless you. You are in my prayers.