I am still thinking about the heroic teachers who protected and loved their children through that horrific tragedy last week in Connecticut. I am thinking of my nephew who is leaving his paraprofessional position to complete his degree, and how much he impacted the students he is leaving behind, and truly how much they impacted him. I am thinking back on the many little gifts I received from students wanting to wish me a Merry Christmas, and while those were special, and many still hang on my tree each year, the light in their eyes and the warmth of their smile as they wished me a Merry Christmas was the greatest gift of all.
I am thinking of my college friend, who taught and coached in Texas, and died unexpectedly last year, and the outpouring of love and admiration that was expressed by the many students she taught as they dealt with the loss of their beloved teacher and coach.
I am thinking of my dearest friends who are still teaching in the classroom everyday, trying to make a difference in the lives of children who may not truly understand all that they are learning is not in the textbooks or the lessons planned for them. As teachers, we often wonder if what we are doing really matters. But all it takes is one thank you, one hug, one look at the light in the eyes of a child or a grateful parent, and you know with all your heart that you are doing what you were meant to do.
I also feel blessed to have the opportunity to continue to teach when my grandsons crawl up in my lap to read a book, or to be able to help them with homework, or to show them something they've never seen before.
So thank you to the many teachers who have gone before me... whom I probably didn't tell often enough (or at all) how much they meant to me. And thank you to the schools who hired me, the students and colleagues who made me want to come to school each day and see what could be accomplished, and to the schools who allow me to come in now to help improve the teaching and learning in their building. God blessed me when he put that idea in my head a very long time ago that I wanted to grow up and be a teacher. What a wonderful journey it has been!