I am fortunate to have a job. It is a job that I love most of the time. The teaching profession has many people that either enrich your life or people that bring frustration to it. Life is a journey and how we look at problems often is reflected in our attitudes.
I walk through the commons where hundreds of students are sitting and socializing. I feel like a rock star with so many students waving, calling my name and wanting a smile of acknowledgment. A fellow staff member said to me when I went into the office, “My you are Miss Popular”. I told her that I really don’t know of any kid that does not like computers. Although this is true I think my “popularity” with the students has more to do with my positive, caring and upbeat attitude about the students. In the two schools that I work in, I have more than 470 students that I see once a week. I genuinely want to know the students. I ask about them and listen and remember what they tell me. It is not a wonder to me that students like me. Just as all of us have the need for affirmation from others in our lives, so do these children. It does not take much effort on my part to do this. I can see more easily from their perspective how the school or home environment might be.
Often as teachers we complain that we cannot control what happens in the students home. Terrible things might be happening there. This is sad and something that rightly so we should be upset about. We don’t have control and we cannot change the environment that these children go home to. All that we can do is provide a safe, loving, accepting and joyful place for our students to learn. This is not to say that everything is rosy and happy all the time. It is not.
What matters is that our students know, and know in their gut, that they are cared for and loved by their teachers even when they misbehave and make mistakes. The world is not an easy place for our students to navigate. My job as a teacher, is to help our students navigate through life and hopefully develop a positive strategy to solving problems and learning.