I started out wanting to be a high school teacher. Then at some point I switched to wanting to teach 4th or 5th grade. For my student teaching I got placed in a 1st grade inclusion classroom with 38 students and 2 teachers- one regular ed and one special ed. Right out of student teaching (January) I applied to sub all around town and got called right away to fill in for a 2 week parapro sub position. Immediately from there, they hired me as a full time para in kindergarten. Then at the end of the school year, a shocking offer. Teaching 7th grade math. WHAT??? The math stuff I wasn’t worried about. I love math. I have always loved math. My degree was in math. But, me, teach those kids? I had no clue about middle school. They were big, a few even taller than me. They were loud. Some were rude. Some were disrespectful. I didn’t know anything about how to do that. But I couldn’t resist a job, so I took it.
And I loved it.
While I can’t predict the future, I have a feeling that my first year of teaching was possibly the best year I will ever have. The team was amazing. We were all on the same page. We had our differences and specialties, but we knew our goal, we worked together, we supported each other. And some of them continue to be the best friends I have ever had. We have all moved on to different things since then, but I won’t forget that year.
And the kids. Wow. I had the privilege of working with one of the best groups of kids I will ever work with as well. Sure, there were some tough kids, but every single one of those kids touched my heart. I can’t even write this without tearing up at the thought of some of these children I got to meet.
Why tears? Because they taught me something crazy. Something I seriously had never thought of. That middle school was my home. That even though middle school students can be big, and loud, and rude, and disrespectful, and TOUGH… they are also insightful, and amazing, and thoughtful, and FUNNY! (And very hormonal) And that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Which leads me to this:
This isn’t a last day of school card or a birthday card or a random card. It is a mother’s day card. I love that in addition to being their teacher, I get to be a momma to many of these kids, even the ones with wonderful mothers of their own at home. Because teaching math isn’t about teaching math. It’s about teaching a million other things that they will remember for so much longer than they will ever remember some silly formula.