Monday, September 3, 2007

The Best Job

Teaching is the best job in the world. It doesn't always seem that way because there are many difficult days, but what job is perfect?

Tomorrow begins a new school year. The halls will be crowded with little faces. Most kids will be happy to be there. Some will be frightened, some lost, but every student is there to get the best they can from their teachers and their school.

Parents will bring their kids to school and try to capture the events on cameras and video equipment. Some kids will cry, and most parents will try to be brave as they send their most precious possesions off to grow up.

I know every year my wife and I shed tears as we send our oldest off to a new year. This year Savannah will begin Kindergarten and I doubt that I will be able to hold back the tears in front of her. For every beginning, something most come to an end. It doesn't come as fast as you think that it might. It sneaks up on you slowly, taking a little away when you aren't looking. That first day of school seems like a much bigger hunk than all the other small pieces that slip by without a second thought. And it really hurts like something is being ripped from you. Before I had children of my own, I never understood that. Now, every parent that comes in looking more afraid than any of the children, has my deepest sympathies.

I have always thought that teaching is great because it allows you to be better than before. Not many jobs are so forgiving. I always try to forget the things that didn't work and the people who who made things difficult and begin the new year with high expectations for myself.

I want to make this year the best, not for myself, but for the students I serve. I don't get better pay, or more time off for being a better teacher, but a sense of peace for knowing that there is nothing more I can give. I'll never be rich, but that's ok. I am not good with money anyway. I have never had a lot of practice with money, but I have enough to secure a happy life for my family. That is all that matters to me.

They say that teaching is a way to touch the future. That is very corny, but also very true. Some days you work so hard you can't sit up at the end of the day and you wonder why you are doing that to yourself. No one would know if you just phoned it in. But the kids know. They can absolutely tell when you don't believe in what you are doing. The problem is that you don't see the impact of what you have done in a child's life until much later. There are few feelings better than when an adult comes up to you and tells you that when he was in Kindergarten he thought you were always fun and the coolest teacher in the world. It almost makes you forget how old it makes you feel.

I don't know what this year will bring but I am looking forward to it. I am going to work hard to get past my morning of tears for my own children, and make sure that the rest of the day is devoted to making all of my students and teachers happy. I probably won't succeed with everyone, but it won't be because I didn't try. I will be exhausted and I will probably wonder why I killed myself running around in circles. Then Wednesday will roll around and I will see all those happy faces for day two, and I will remember.

No comments: