Thursday will be my last day with 8th grade students.
Friday will be my last day at the middle school.
I can speak honestly here. [I mean, I can pretty much do whatever I choose since it's my blog.]
I am scared.
After 18 years of teaching, I am not scared about teaching. [Some of you might think different. If my teaching scares you can keep that to yourself.]
I am scared of the things I am not sure about...
- Where is the diet Sundrop? [Like is there just one button or is there like a whole line of buttons for diet Sundrop or am I going to have to resort to bringing my own for the fridge?]
- Where is the bathroom? [Seriously. Where is the bathroom? I am over 40. I've had 4 kids. Enough said.]
- Is there coffee or do I need to follow BYOC? [Bring your own coffee people...keep up!]
- Where do I park?
- How do I get to my classroom? [SERIOUS concern here.]
- People move jobs every day. I will survive. [Or I will at least pretend like I know what I'm doing. I mean, if I end up at the playground every day, trying to find the restroom or diet Sundrop or my classroom it will be ok. I hope. I like playgrounds.]
Mostly, I'm scared of leaving.
I work with some seriously awesome people who handle middle schoolers with so much grace and compassion that it is amazing. I am so very blessed to have spent time with people that have a heart for teaching.
Trust me when I say that it truly takes a very special person to teach middle school.
Seriously. Middle school teachers must
be crazy have a true heart for teaching because there is no one single logical explanation for why anyone [in their right mind] would put up with some of the "stuff" that middle schoolers can throw [sometimes literally] at you, on a daily basis.
My hat is off to teachers everywhere. Teaching is a tough job. Middle school teaching is a true calling because it is tough on a whole different wacky, crazy level...day in and day out.
In my tenure as a middle school teacher, I have been surrounded by many people who heeded the call to teach
the deranged and unstable middle schoolers.
These are some of the very best teachers I have ever seen.
They have to be tough. Even when it hurts. [And believe me when I say that the old saying that "it hurts me more than it hurts you" is often true when you dole out discipline in middle school.]
They have to be fair. Even when the other side doesn't get it. [More times than not the other side truly does not see any fault in throwing food across the cafeteria or kissing that soul-mate in the stairway.]
They have to be compassionate. Even when the compassion is NOT being returned. Or considered. Or even in the realm of possibility.
They have to show endurance. Even when the gas gauge is on E and it is only 8:30am on a Monday morning.
They have to be able to multi-task. Even when it's lunch. [And thanks to portable email, sometimes even in the bathroom. Oh wait...is that just me? Sorry. Too much information.]
What an adventure it has been for me.
I landed at the middle school sort of by default.
I wanted a change.
My favorite coach was going to be the head softball coach at the high school so we would be moving.
I needed to start over.
Just as God always does He provided me with people in my path to guide me. I could never adequately thank KMMS enough for all they have done to help me be a better teacher. I am not nearly the middle school teacher that I see in many of them.
My hope for my soon-to-be former co-workers is very simple...just keep jumping.
Close your eyes and jump.
Every single day.
More than anything, teaching of any kind requires taking a daily jump.
In middle school I think it takes a good jump and a huge leap of faith.
Faith that the kid that sits with his head down, on the daily, will raise his hand and answer a question.
Faith that first block or fourth block or that meeting that you dread will go smoothly.
Faith that the lesson or the new concept or that huge technology project you have planned will be embraced by
all most of your students.
Faith that the students who only eat when they come to school will be able to make it through the long, four day weekend.
Faith that God's grace and mercy, that has been shown to you more than once [or twice or ten times] will also be evident in your interactions with those around you.
Faith that each new day will be a good day.
Thank you for being willing to jump, sometimes hour by hour, for the students you are impacting. Changing lives is not an easy job but you are doing just that...even when you can't see it.
Thank you for helping me learn to jump.