I was just reading the blog of a friend I work very closely with at church. She is one of the incredible people I’ve had the pleasure to get to know at Elevation that picked up and moved to help start the church. She gives and gives and it’s been great to be a part of all that is going on with the little kids at church.
As I was reading what she had written about her eldest heading off to kindergarten this coming school year, it really made me think on a different level about what a teacher does, their job, attitude, behavior. I remember going off to kindergarten and kicking and screaming everyday for a while. I can’t recall my mom’s reaction to me going off to school, but I’m sure it was similar to what Erin shared in her post. I am sure if I someday have kids going off to school I’ll have the same worries and fears.
I know all of us hear that we may never know the impact we will have on someone until possibly later down the road, especially for those teachers who might have a student come back years later to thank them. I’m not a regular classroom teacher. I sometimes might think I won’t have the same amount of impact that a regular ed. teacher might, but I CANNOT think that way. My time with the kids is short each week. I see each class for about 40 minutes to an hour per week. I see them MAYBE 36 times a year. That is all. Erin actually went as far as to counting up the hours per week kids are in school, not including activities after school. I know it is essentially like they have a full-time job as a little student. In thinking about that, I realized that my instructional time with each class is only 36 hours in a whole school year. That is almost equal to one solid week of school out of the entire year. I already have to do whatever I can to maximize the instructional time I have with them. A teacher already knows they need to comport themselves in a manner that doesn’t cause confusion for the students regarding their behavior. But, not only do I need to maximize my instructional time, I also need to maximize my time to impact them outside the “content area”. Be that person they can talk to if they need to, be the adult they see that is different, be someone they see who is genuine with them and provides an atmosphere that is comfortable. Yeah, those are all things that a teacher should be doing anyway, but it’s a matter of doing it intentionally and with a genuine spirit. The littlest things you do can have a huge impact on a child if they are in your care for that long.
Sometimes, as a teacher and perhaps as someone with no kids, you don’t hear all of the things a parent goes through, not to mention a parent who is a Christian. I needed that reminder, so thanks, Erin.