Giving Thanks: Education (Day #18)
I am so thankful for Education. I love learning. I am a perpetual student. I still take classes whenever I can work one into my schedule.
And, I loved teaching. Fifteen years of my life I spent teaching middle school and high school students, and while I have always had interest in other careers and hobbies, being an educator was what God called me to do from the beginning.
When I was child, I loved playing school. I loved writing on notebook paper, I couldn’t wait to learn how to spell my name, and I wanted to be good at everything that I was taught. As I grew up, I didn’t argue about my homework, I took the initiative to be creative with my projects, and I felt so good when I knew I had a met a deadline and completed it to the best of my ability. In college, I took a variety of classes along with my content area. I wanted to know about psychology, sociology, photography, music, and more. I just enjoyed learning, and I have tried to stay in touch with some of my teachers from days long past.
When I became a teacher, one of my goals was to create a classroom environment that was filled with a mix of mutual respect, creativity, and structure. I brought in couches and hung colorful posters, including my beloved Snoopy posters that traveled with me whenever I had to change classes. I always had bins of markers, rulers, glue, and construction paper for projects that we completed in class. I invited guest speakers, hosted contests, scheduled field trips. I held high expectations for my students. I tried to not only teach about how to write a creative story and take great digital photographs, but also how to follow the golden rule, use manners, and be trustworthy as a human being.
I wasn’t perfect, and I made mistakes. I don’t know a teacher that doesn’t have a day, week or even year that they struggle to help everyone and do everything right. Heaven knows, I was never a morning person, so for the few years I had a 1st period class, I tried to give us all a few minutes at the beginning of class to wake up. I’m sure there were times the stress of juggling the numerous demands of my job kept me from smiling at everyone I saw or making a connection with every student. Each year, I tried to manage my time spent grading papers and projects with having some kind of personal life outside the campus events. No, I never felt like I did it all perfectly, but I always felt like I gave 100%. I fought for my kids (meaning my students-they were all my kids) to be treated fair, and I enjoyed watching my students be successful in class and in life.
I believe an education is one of the most important things a boy and girl can have. This doesn’t mean they have to attend a four-year university, though I do believe that is one way to go. However, I know many of my students who were talented in cosmetology, auto mechanics, and construction. I believe strongly that if a student has a passion for something and can receive a certification that will help them move forward then that is another avenue open to them. I believe in study abroad, internships, and community service. There are so many ways to receive an education today, and I am proud of all my students that have chosen a path and pursued it, whatever it may be.
I taught well over 2,000 kids in my tenure, and I still enjoy staying in touch with many through social media. My years were spent mostly with girls as that seemed to be the ones drawn to my elective/content area, though there were a few boys who figured out the yearbook room was the place to be. I’m glad we made scrapbooks and yearbooks so I can remember all their faces and names. I’m not sure they realize how much of an impact they made, but to all those I taught, Thank You.
I miss being in the classroom. I miss catching up with my students, who are no longer kids, but are getting married and having kids of their own. I miss learning alongside them about new technology, new ways to tell unique stories, new possibilities for future careers. I miss my fellow teachers too. Education gave me some of the best friendships and best adventures.
I am thankful for the opportunity I had to be an educator for so many years. I am thankful daily for my own education. And, I am grateful now to be able to use all I learned from teaching, educating, printing, publishing, writing, and more for this amazing company.