Last week an educator who happens to be my current grad class professor impressed upon us the most simple, yet profound realization: “They’re children.”
Do we sometimes forget that? Do we sometimes focus on the fact that they’re not sitting still…not making direct eye contact with us during a lesson…make lapses in judgment which lead to questionable behaviors…not exerting enough effort on assignments….not studying enough for a test…and the list goes on.
We are the adults. We chose this profession because, I should sincerely hope, we want to serve as role models in the lives of our students and impact their lives in meaningful ways.
He said, “Even the 18 year olds, who put on a tough exterior, are children at heart.”
It’s true. We have to give them our best. We can’t transform into selfish, immature, negative souls just because something doesn’t go our way. Is it going their way? What do they need us to be? Are we doing the very best with the resources, time, and capacity we’re given to help them learn? Day after day? Are we working to better ourselves for them?
They need us to be strong. They need us to be confident. They need us to take risks and not be afraid of making mistakes. They need us to believe in them on their worst days, and celebrate them on their best days. No one is perfect. No child is perfect. But they’re our children. And they’re the reasons we come to work each and every day.
Sometimes, in the moments when we believe we’ve reached our breaking points, in the times when we feel as though we’ll never have enough resources or time to make a difference, we need to remember that our children spend 8 hours a day with us, and that it is our charge to help them learn and love to learn. No school is perfect. No one ever has enough “time.” But the time we do have with our students should be cherished. We must dedicate ourselves to accepting the challenges each new day brings, and to do better than we did the day before.
Why? Because they’re children. And we owe it to them. Every word we say, every action we take, every effort we give to classroom activities is important to them, whether they outwardly display it or not.
Remember this, each and every day!