Saturday, September 20, 2014

Celebrating My Students

I’m joining up with Ruth Ayres for her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week. Check out all of the posts linked up at her blog HERE. Thanks for starting this, Ruth!

Do you ever have one of those days that you realize just how completely blessed you are? That you are grateful for every single thing? I’ve had a weekend like that filled with football games, flag football, and a town celebration. It is, indeed, reason to celebrate.

I could celebrate the celebrity that comes with being a teacher. Hearing your name screamed and being rushed at while someone throws their arms around you is a pretty awesome feeling. My former students that are in high school are a bit more subdued, but I still love seeing them. Watching these kids grow, I feel such a sense of pride and gratitude for getting to be even a small part of their lives.

I could celebrate the game. What a game! I love high school football. I love the sense of community. The feeling of screaming and jumping up and down for heart pumping plays. I could celebrate the joy of jumping and cheering in the end zone with friends I have known since I was young. I could celebrate an incredible win, 58-55, which is amazing all by itself.

I could celebrate our high school’s flag football program, which is new this year. How Liam loves going and looks forward to it more than anything else in his week. When I woke him today all I had to say was, “Flag football,” and he cheered and hopped out of bed.

I could celebrate my community. I volunteered to work in two booths at our town celebration today. In one I spoke to community members about our referendum coming up. Every interaction was positive. I received hugs from parents of former students. Spoke to friends from town. Received compliments and encouragement – both of which I was so grateful for and will pay forward.

I could celebrate the chance to visit with students – former and current. Whether it was at the game last night, walking with a football player this morning to ask about his injury, hugs on the square today, book conversations, or the former student who walked me home from the town celebration in the rain, I love each and every one of them. What a gift they give me every day.

So many celebrations, I cannot even comprehend how truly blessed I am. Walking in the door to my home, I smiled. I was drenched from the rain, exhausted from the day, but Liam greeted me at the door. He had to show me the whistle he had won uptown at the celebration. He’s been asking me to borrow my whistle from school all week, and I haven’t been able to figure out why. Looking at Liam, it finally made sense. See, the reason he wants to go to flag football has a lot to do with these guys:

Nate and Clay are two of my former students. The high school team volunteers as the coaches of the flag football teams. Nate and Clay are Liam’s coaches and it is an understatement to say he idolizes them just a bit. Every play of that game last night, he watched them. He wanted to get there early today to see them. And when they walk around coaching, want to guess what they have hanging in their mouths? Yep, a whistle. So now I have a nine year old walking around our house with a whistle.

As a teacher, I work hard to make sure my students know I care about them. Before I begin to worry about the standards I teach, I am always thinking about how I can strengthen our relationship to make it one that will last for our year and beyond. I constantly try and teach my students not only our curriculum, but also how to be people they can be proud of. It never dawned on me - until today - that those kids I was working with would be teens that my own children would look up to. Wow. I am beyond grateful for former students who are willing to be role models to my own children. My heart is filled with gratitude and love.