Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Don't Forget Where You Came From

Yes I have been very bloggy lately. But I am thankful for a space to share what is on my heart and mind. I don't want blogging to be something that I do for gain or notoriety, I want it to be a space to think and grow and share. Maybe it will be of use to others, but it has been immensely useful to me. And on days like today, really pensive and thoughtful ones, I can't help but wonder if I'm just missing it all. Missing reality. Missing the actuality of our education system and just floating on cloud nine and forgetting.

I don't want to forget.

I may be a teacher of the gifted now, but I have always been a teacher of children. The children I have taught range in needs and abilities, but my love for them all is unconditional.

I may be a teacher in GCISD now, but I used to be in BISD. And man, did those people work hard. They had to. Not that teachers in GCISD don't-- far from that-- but it is a different kind of hard work. During my first four years of teaching in BISD, they had very little resources and little support from the community. They had classes bursting at the seams, overflowing with children beyond the 22:1 ratio. They were a small district in cities that have been fighting to thrive. And I had the chance to know and work for this district, and teach alongside their teacher-warriors the students in our schools. Students who were, and still are, absolutely worth it. Students who I have shed many tears over and prayed over and loved with all the love I could muster. Students who have loved me unconditionally, and have seen me not only as a teacher, but a caregiver, a mother, a parent. Students who I will never forget and am thankful to have had the opportunity to know and cherish. Families who became my family. Families who saw me up late at school at night and brought over dinner, or invited me into their apartments. Some families who, despite having little, gave what they had to make sure I felt appreciated. Families who still text me, or keep in touch, or send me Christmas cards or emails. Families who trusted me and cried with me and fought with me, fought for the best for their child. Some families who never stepped foot inside our classroom or answered a phone call. Some families who didn't know what grade their child was in. It is their children who I miss with a different kind of longing. BISD, you showed me how to fight for the best for our students. And you continue to fight the good fight well, with what you have, any way you can. You pour your lives into your profession. And I miss you...deeply.

I may be a teacher who teaches in a classroom where all of my students have 1:1 iPads, but I used to be a teacher who struggled figuring out how to use 5 iPod touches well in a classroom, or one class set of iPads during one 2-hour period per week. The technology that my students now have at their fingertips at any given moment during the day astounds me. And it breaks my heart that this isn't the reality or the case across our great state. That some students will grow in an educational environment full of digital literacy and opportunities for learning because of the tools they have, and some won't have that same chance. It frustrates me.

I may be a teacher who teaches in a classroom where the majority of my students want to learn and grow, but I have been on the other end of that spectrum. I will never forget how long it took during my second year of teaching to slowly motivate and instill a love of learning in my students. They were young and wanted to play and frolic and socialize, and I was young and wanted them to learn and read and write. We met in the middle somewhere along the way, and it was beautiful. I remember the lack of desire, the resistance to learning, the groans and the tears. I remember the obstacles many of us faced to get to where we needed to be. I remember that it isn't always the norm to have a class full of students who are eager to learn and excel. I don't want to forget what it's like for a child to finally unlock their own love of learning.

I may be a teacher now who blogs about new-fangled ideas on giftedness and how to best serve gifted students in a classroom, but I used to be a teacher who just blogged about my small, daily adventures and moments with children. I wrote about things that may have been ordinary to most, but were extraordinary to me. Moments that I am thankful to have captured, for when I read back on them now, I laugh and weep and thank God for what he has given me the past five years. Moments that I can't believe happened, conversations I recorded that I can still play out in my mind and remember the children who made them happen, times of frustration or despair that were all redeemed and restored.

I may have things I want to say now about giftedness or the world of education, for it is a passion of mine, but I also don't want to forget that this blog started as a way to remember, to never forget, to look back on memories with fondness and joy. I don't want to forget where I came from, from Room P104 and all of the life that occurred in its walls.

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