Tomorrow is my last day of student teaching for the summer. It's crazy how in three short weeks, you learn so much about your students. It's crazy how often I think of them, long after the day is over and they've gone home. It's crazy how much I know about them, and all it takes is a willing heart and an open ear. I've been thinking a lot these past couple days, as my time with them draws to a close. As a teacher, one of the things I enjoy most is getting to know my students - what they like, what they don't like, how they work and interact with each other and with me, how many siblings they have, what their favorite color is, and all the little details. I see it in their writing, and I ask them questions, to probe deeper, to see a little better into their young but complicated lives. I thought all teachers would enjoy this process of getting to know their students - but I've realized, this is often not the case.
I won't go into that here, but I've really been challenged a lot in my time of student teaching. I guess I am a dreamer, and I idealized the teaching profession. I knew it was hard, but I guess through the program I would get to meet like-minded individuals who value children and who see unlimited potential in them as I do. To me, all the students I worked with these past 3 weeks, no matter what developmental challenges they may have, I've been able to find something positive and special in each child. I just finished writing them all a little note, and even though they're only in first grade and I've only known them for such a short time, I was surprised that I could pick out something special in each child, most of the time 2 or 3 specific things! I felt I didn't have enough space in each note to tell each child how wonderful they are. Sadly, that's not the case with some of the teachers I've met (not the people in my program - they are all wonderful!). While I'm sure they all love children to an extent... that curiosity and wanting to know their students as individuals just isn't there. I'm not saying that all teachers are like that - many teachers are truly wonderful and know their students well and I aspire to be like that when I really start teaching! But it's just sad when teachers view teaching as a job, and that's it.
I hope that even though my time with my students was short, that they felt love in the classroom. This sounds so cheesy, but I'm serious! If I even encouraged one child to try harder or to read more... then everything was worth it! :)