Monday, May 27, 2013

Parenting Lessons from My Students

In some ways I think being a teacher has prepared me to be a parent. There are many ways I can think that this is true, but at the core - I know my purpose. If I do my job right, on any given year, I am raising these kids so that they do not need me. My goal is independence and ultimately, I know they will leave me.

Some years this goes well and I am not extremely emotional. Some years I’m exhausted, barely crawling that last day to the finish line. That was true for me last year. My students were wonderful – they made me laugh, challenged me, grew beyond what I thought possible. That being said, I was drained. I was also in my last year of grad school – three classes that fall, two that spring – and I’m confidant that had a lot to do with it. I was ready for summer.

This year I’m not, but I am. These kids are ready, I can feel it. Visiting the middle school the other day it hit me, they are ready to move on from me, even if I am struggling with it. Academically, they are prepared. I know they can handle the workload. Socially, they are more mature than many classes I have taught. They are kind and work well together. I know this is a group that will accomplish great things. And while I’m sure there are a few that are nervous about moving on, the majority are ready to embrace this challenge.  

And so, I need to let go. Let them move on and become what they are meant to be. I realize I will see them again, but I also know it is not the same. You can’t go back, and truly, you shouldn’t. Just as I know one day, not too far from now, I will have to let Luke, and then Liam go. And they will visit, come home for summers, spend weekends here. It isn’t the same as living in a home together, just as running into my students at the pool is not the same as being within those walls of the classroom together. And yet, it is as it should be. They are ready, and I am closer to being ready everyday. They are preparing me to let go of my own children one day, to them grow on without me. My students are teaching me and for that, and so much else, I am grateful.