This week I asked my classroom teacher, “Why did you decide to be a teacher? What makes you stay after all the awful things that have happened?” Like always she gave me an answer that was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. She explained why she went into teaching and then addressed that part about staying after all of the terrible things that have happened to her in the classroom. She said she stays because the kids need her. With all of the instability in their lives they need something consistent. She said, “I am always going to be here.”
It wasn’t an answer that surprised me really because I think she shows that every day but it was an answer that so simply put the things I have been feeling. I always wanted to work in a school like the one I went to but I have changed my mind and since then I have had trouble putting into words why I changed my mind. I couldn’t quite figure out what it meant to feel the way I do but when she said those few simple words, I absolutely got it. It makes perfect sense. I am definitely the kind of person who needs to hear someone else say what I am thinking to truly know what I mean and she hit the nail on the head.
I am certain that what makes her stand out from other teachers is that simple philosophy; the idea that in a chaotic world these kids have one thing they can rely on. One stable, intelligent adult who cares about them. Now I see that she works every day to be that person for these kids. I tell myself all the time that if one student ate a meal they otherwise would not have eaten or felt safe when they otherwise would not have then it was worth it for me to be there. It is hard to believe that sometimes. That she truly knows that and embodies that every day must be what makes her better than a good teacher.
I wonder how she does it. Sometimes her world is upside down. How do you be the stable person in students’ lives when you feel unstable? Everything is changing for me and nothing in my life is remaining the same, so how do I accomplish stability in the in the classroom?