I appreciate YOU!

Hey Friends :) As the end of another school year is glaring me in the face, I can't help but feel a roller coaster of emotions. I've seen so many posts and memes about the last day of school, which are so cute and funny, but I can't help feeling sad.

I know you all can relate. Seriously, we have THE.SINGLE.MOST.IMPORTANT.JOBS.EVER.PERIOD.
And anyone that wants to argue with me, please, come spend a day, a week, a marking period, a school year with me and you will see! Some days I think UGHHHH this school year is going soooo slow. And this time of year, I think OMGeeee I only have 30 days left, how in the world am I gonna get these kiddos to where they need to be by the end of the year.

Let me give you a little information about me, for those that don't know-- I teach 1st grade literacy (reading/writing/phonics) to 2 groups of kids. Our kiddos (throughout the entire school (K-5) are flexibly grouped by abilities). SO I teach the lower level first graders. My morning group has 11 students and are all reading on a kindergarten level, on a F&P scale these range from non-readers to level E. 

As it would occur, these students in my homeroom are not the easiest students. Many come from less than fortunate situations, and at times it seems like the world is against them. I've seen gains this year with them, but BELIEVE ME the beginning of the year was a struggle as I felt I was constantly hitting a brick wall with not seeing great progress (as my fellow 1st grade teachers with on level and above level students were seeing). BUT, each of my students have grown (in their own way) and it has been SOOO rewarding. 

However, I can't help but worry about them. With the upcoming summer days, I worry how the lack of routine will affect them. I dream of driving to each of their houses to drop in with lunch, only for their parents to cuss me out or kick me out :) I wonder if their families will remember to feed them or leave them food(my lock key kids). I hope they know I worry. and pray. and pray. and worry. They aren't my own kids, but I love each of them like my own children.
With having 4 children of my own, I've debated about taking a year or two off, spending time and raising my own children. I admire mothers that are stay at home mothers. For me, my career gives me a different kind of fulfillment. I absolutely love being a mother, I am FAR from perfect and definitely not winning a MOM OF THE YEAR award anytime soon, but I feel like I'm a decent mom. BUT, with teaching, I feel like there are unfortunately kids who don't have a loving caretaker. I'm afraid if I take a year or two off, that there will be kids who come through who truly need a teacher like me and I won't be there. My calling is to be a teacher and be there for those kids.

Teaching is the hardest job out there. You just can't turn it off. You just can't put away your worries and fears. Yes, grading papers can wait. Yes lesson plans can wait. But wondering if "Patty" got something to eat today because she was absent, or worrying if "Tommy's" caretaker will pay attention to him tonight, or praying for all of your students well being---that. That can't be turned off. The love and compassion that comes with being a teacher. It's not just about our lessons and materials and standards. It's about those little eyes looking toward us for approval or praise or just a hug. 

Thank you for all you do. Teaching isn't easy, and you are a rockstar.

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