Wow! There really are some amazing bloggers and teachers out there. You are all so supportive.
I must say though, it's times like these that the most unlikely support comes from the mouths of our students. My job this year has been unique. I am essentially a small-group teacher. I teach EIP (Early Intervention Program). The majority of my students are second language learners, and all of them are deemed "low" in the area in which they are in my small group, whether it is math or reading. Yet it is my students who try their hearts out for me, every. single. day. Some days are better than other, obviously. And yes, as teachers we often live for the moments when we see the light bulb 'click', but I also think I live for the moments when I pick up my little groups and they line up in the hall and we we're getting ready to go my little girl says "Ms. Cohn?" and I turn and look at her, "Yes, sweetheart?" She looks at me with a smile and says, "I love you!" It's those unprompted moments. Those moments at the end of the day when you just don't know if you have it in you to do one last small group, to work with the last little bit of your 50th child throughout the day, you've pushed them to their limit because they know you expect their absolute best and you will not accept anything less, and they look at you and smile.
That's why we teach, isn't it? That's why year after year we come back to this, whether we have a job or not. It's true, as far as having a contract year after year, I've been put through the ringer. However, I don't know if I would change the day to day of it at all. This whole journey has made me who I am, and I AM a teacher.
Last year I wrote this post, titled I am a teacher. Blogger has changed a little and the way I posted it has become more difficult to read. I thought I would repost it. This was last year's:
I am a teacher.
Do not look surprised.
Do not sound shocked.
I am a teacher in a low-income school.
Do not ask how I do it.
Do not feel sorry for my students or me.
Do not ask what it is like in this economy.
I am a teacher.
Do not ask me what it is like to grow attached to a class of 19 students each year for the 4 years and leave each one behind at the of the school year, as I have to leave for job availability.
Do not ask me about the number of students I have retained, put through Special Education referrals, taken to a student support team meeting, had in foster care, or stayed up late at night worrying about in one year alone.
Do not ask me about my personal budget, or how much of my own money I spend on my classroom.
I am their teacher.
Ask me about the smiles I get each morning.
Ask me about the I receive each afternoon.
Ask me about the tears I wipe away and the wounds I heal whether I have to run as fast I can on the playground, or help a heart that is hurt.
Ask me how I make my students apologize and mean it.
Ask me how I have made my students move an average of 8 reading levels since October.
I am their teacher.
Smile with me as they make me laugh.
Laugh with me when the moments become so unbearable that all you can do is chuckle.
Worry with me as the end of the year approaches and I wonder if I have prepared them as well as I possibly could have.
Cry with me as I watch them walk out the door on the last day of school, hoping they are safe all summer, and hoping others will look out for them next year.
Ask me how to care.
Ask me how to help a child.
I AM a teacher.
I've rewritten my poem slightly for this year....stay tuned for the updated version.