I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized. ~Dr. Haim Ginott
I have been teaching now for twenty-one years…twenty-one long, challenging and extremely rewarding years. During this time, I have seen many changes in education - on local, state, and national levels. I have taught through a number of administrative changes – from principals, superintendents, governors and presidents. They all seem to come and go, but here I remain…same little town, same little school. My journey is with these students…these siblings and, now, children of former students.
After so many years, I have come to know their stories - their struggles, their triumphs, their challenges, and their celebrations. I have seen their tears and heard their laughter. I have felt both their anger and their hugs. Even the children and families I am meeting for the very first time…their stories are familiar.
All teachers know these stories because that’s what we do…we listen, we watch, we wait, we nudge, …we are present.
Over the past twenty-one years, I have had children who were homeless, hungry, abandoned, ignored, angry, violated, and medically fragile. I have conferenced with parents who were discouraged, addicted, overwhelmed, suicidal, and illiterate. Despite all these barriers, my job remains to educate these children –to motivate, encourage, support, inspire, and nurture them. But, like Chicago teacher, Allie Griffin…
"I teach…. because I leave my job every day knowing that I gave a lot, but was given [so much] more".