I teach in a pretty tough neighborhood, and I used to teach in a worse one (think Boyz in the Hood). Our school is on 100% government breakfast and lunch, meaning over 95% of the families are living significantly below the poverty line. The majority of our students are second language learners, and many of their parents did not finish high school. There is a significant gang problem in the neighborhood. Every year as I prepare to say goodbye to “my kids”, I start to think not only about what I have (hopefully) taught them….but what they have taught me.
Here are a few lessons I learned this year in room 37……
1) Money doesn’t make you a great parent, love does. Some of the families in the toughest circumstances have some of the happiest children. When I have children, I hope that I can be half of the parent as some I’ve seen in my classroom.
2) Everyone makes mistakes, get over it. It’s their ability to make it right that matters. I have a few students with impulse control issues this year. To watch their classmates forgive them, support them and cheer them on when they make better decisions has been inspiring.
3) You can’t control your circumstance, but you can control the type of person you become because of it. I have students whose parents are in jail. Students whose parents are addicts. Students who have witnessed violence that that majority of us can only imagine. I know with 100% certainty that some of them will rise beyond their circumstances…..because already at the age of ten……they have huge hearts, and more work ethic than most adults.
4) Recess always helps, so does talking to a friend.
I hope that someday, I am half the person my students are at 10 years old. I feel blessed to have been a part of their lives.
I know this isn’t my usual type of post…..but it was on my mind today! Tomorrow, back to our regularly scheduled program!