Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Blessing of Teaching

I have worked in education for what is coming up on 14 years at the end of October.  I was pregnant with my son and needed a real job so my friend, Haja suggested that apply for the New York City Teaching Fellows.  I had been told that I would be a great teacher for a while but it was something that I have always escaped.  I didn't think I had it in me to be a great teacher.  I have  dual certification.  I worked in an elementary school in Morris Heights in the Bronx.  I remember those kids.  They are adults now.  How could second graders be adults?  I wonder where they are now.  I think I am friends with one or two of them.  I wonder what kind of lives they have.  I pray that they are successful.  

I think about my babies from Arizona.  I have been teaching here for what is going on 11 years.  I taught kindergarten so some of them are getting ready to graduate from high school if they haven't already.  I don't think I would recognize them if I saw them.  I hope that they would come to me and tell me hello.  

I was explaining to someone why I teach.  I teach at a high school with kids that need an education.  I'm a salesman.  I sell education and hope each and every day.  I don't know what they hear when I'm talking to them.  I just want them to have opportunities.  One of them came back the other day and he called me, "Mama Miller."  He's not the only one who calls me that.  I look into the eyes of the kids that I am working with.  There is always a wall up when I start speaking with them.  I can see them asking the same questions: Who are you? and Why should I trust you?  There is really no reason to trust me.  I love them.  I do.  I hope the best for them.  

Three weeks in and I'm getting to know the students.  I like talking to them about the world.  I like it when they finally learn something and they are so excited about learning.  I have one student who is getting ready to graduate.  He likes to sabotage himself.  He needs a lot of support.  His teachers call me when he struggles and when he sees my face, it's respect, mixed with fear and just the slightest bit of happiness.  I know and he knows that I believe and want to push him to graduate.  I think he doesn't want to leave the nest.  

I love when they come back.  I love going to showers, weddings, graduations and just visiting them.  A student that I had when I first started texted me a picture of the front office to tell me that he was there.  He didn't wait when I came out.  He gave me a hug.  He is doing well.  I don't think that there is a job title for what I do.  I teach and love on kids.  I help them be who they are going to be.  It is such an honor and a privilege to teach them.  I am so happy that they let me into their lives for a moment, a quarter, a year or a lifetime.  I don't complain when I get even a little bit.  I am blessed.  I pray that I can be God to each one of them.  I pray for their protection and contentment.  I pray that they pay forward any blessing that befalls them.  I pray for them.  That's all.  

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