Down to the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 27 2011

“But I do love the kids.”

Normally when I hear people say the phrase “but I do love the kids” it is following a whole lot of complaining about the school, the job, the administration, TFA, and whatever else you can imagine. I am guilty of doing that myself. But putting everything else aside, I LOVE the kids. Love them. Today, right before 3rd period, one of my 5th period kiddies wandered into my room. He told me “I got switched into 3rd period.” Kids at our school get switched around classes a lot for reasons both known and unknown to me, so I had no problem believing him. Turns out, he didn’t get switched into 3rd period, he was just avoiding going to English class. I asked him why he didn’t want to go to English, and he told me he is failing. His English teacher is another TFAer at our school, so I figured I would pry a little bit deeper. He told me some little tale about how he had lost his book, and he was losing points for not having it every day blah blah. I figured that wasn’t REALLY why he was failing, but I offered to talk to his teacher for him to try to figure out what he could do. And talk to his teacher I did, and I think we are going to find a way to get him on track to pass.

So what does this have to do with loving my kids? What I realized today was that I don’t spend enough time telling them how much I care about them and love them and would do anything for them. And I would. It makes my day every single time a kid calls me “OG Kaplan” (short for original gangster) or walks into my room in between classes just to say hi or yells at me in the hallway. I love them, and they have no idea. I am not warm and fuzzy at all. At ALL. But the kids need to know that I not only want them to do well because I want them to do well in school, but I also want them to do well because I care about them as people. And I want to help them have more reasons every single day to be proud of themselves.

Amidst the pacing guides, chunk tests, released items, tutoring, grading, exit tickets, checking homework, bellringers, and everything else that happens in a day, I often forget to stop and think about each kid and what I love about them. I am lucky enough to get to spend all day with these GREAT kids, and I need to find a way to let them know that I feel that way.

So here’s to stopping and remembering that we are teaching kids, not scores, and that it is worth weeks or months of struggle just to see the look on my kid’s face who studied so hard this unit after doing really poorly on unit 1 when he gets a 102 on his unit 2 test. And hopefully the note I sent home to his parents telling them how great he is doing made those weeks of hard work worth it for him too.

One Response

  1. Linda Matherne

    Stephanie gave me you blog info and the timing was great. I needed to be reminded that I do indeed teach because I love the kids- its the only reason to do this job! I have a very challenging group this year that has made me question my abilities and wonder if I can do this at all. My school is the opposite of yours in every way- private, educated, and I have the youngest, but teaching can still wear you down and challenge you, but you will never know how many lives you are touching in the process! I know you are doing amazing things and you must be OG Kaplan! We miss you here in C’ville but December is getting closer by the day. Happy Rosh Hashanah!

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