Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So do you.

i don't have kids.

for much of my adult life, i have worked in settings in which i didn' t
interact much with children. People that behave like children?
Well, that's another blog for another day :)

i do, however, remember being a child.
quite clearly in fact.

i was talking today with some co-workers about memories of school.
junior high. high school. college.

we were in a consensus that we didn't have many memories
of actually learning,
being engaged by learning in our secondary education environments.
I'm sure this isn't true for everyone,
but it is true for me.

What I do remember is Mrs. Malinowsky.
She took just a moment in my third grade day
to let me know it was ok that I'd asked her if she was pregnant
(she was, phew!) when I was horrified with embarrassment.

I remember Mrs. Yost, who told my fourth grade class
that my mom had died. She showed up at the funeral.

I remember Mr. Mapes, my 6th grade science teacher who gracefully handled
a class of nutty 12 year olds while dissecting frogs. Even when Steven bounced the
eyes like tiny super balls.

I remember my 11th grade Sociology teacher, who jumped up onto a chair
and belly laughed to make his point
to the horror and silent admiration of his students.

I remember Mrs. Schallerer.
She returned a paper I had written with
a comment that made me know that
she believed in me.
And she was proud.

I don't remember much in the way of subject content.
As important as the area of a parallelogram is.....

It is the people who impacted my life

that
I
remember.

Those are the moments that
Shaped me.
Gave me.
Taught me.
Saved me.

When one doesn't have kids, the news about the education system
often falls through the auditory sifter.

funding.
teaching shortages.
no money for programs.
cutting of arts and music programs.

as i recall, it was much like background noise.
must be important
or it wouldn't be on the news.
but it's probably more important to someone else.

For the past almost three years I have been teaching.
It started as a "something to do" job while i waited for other
opportunities to arise.
funny how life works.
Since then I have decided that I enjoy it
(so much better than working with govt employees. go figure).
and now.
it's
important
to
me.

Making a difference in the lives of people.
people who are growing and learning
about life.

defining themselves
and others
learning
how to
be
in the
world.

yes,
they need to learn how to diagram a sentence (wait, do they?),
add fractions with unlike denominators (again..)
what the chart of elements look like,
blah blah blah.

I do that.
some of it anyway.

But what I really teach, and what I long to teach
is how to do life.
How to be ok in this crazy, insecure, fast-lane, road-rage, consumer oriented, gossip laden world.

Even in a perfect world, teaching a 13 year old how to feel good about themselves
is no easy feat.
But it could be the most important thing I will ever do.
For them.
For me.
For you.

Teaching a child about joy, and kindness, and patience
makes
a
difference
in
our
world.


Do I succeed ? every day?
Well, I want to say yes, but the truth is..... probably not.

But I hope that I show these kids how
to
be
human.

A flawed, honest, kind, giving, curious human.

And I hope that
when I make them laugh
or challenge them
or demand kindness
or smile and sincerely want to know who they are
that
I
inspire them
to
be
the
same.

I don't have kids.
But then again
I do.

So
do
you.

1 comment:

keysunset said...

I teach preschool and while my kids will most likely not even remember me, I hope I am making a positive impact on their lives, and on their parents lives.

Kudos to you whitney! I think you are trying to be a positive influence on "your kids."