As teachers we often ask students to stop and reflect over what they are thankful for, but we can sometimes forget to count our own blessings. There is much in life to be grateful for, but here are some of the school-centered things I give thanks over:
Every day people send their children to my room to be educated, which is a huge act of trust. I get to learn with them and laugh with them. I always try to teach them something, and often they end up teaching me. Sometimes about content, sometimes about patience, but I am always better after spending time with them.
One of the unexpected gifts of being an educator is running into former students out in the “real world” and hearing about what they have achieved after leaving my classroom. I recently saw a former student at the grocery store. Now in his 20s, he is not only working full-time, but mentoring other employees. I couldn’t help but remember him as the 12-year-old homeless boy who struggled to read or write even a few sentences. Speaking to him and seeing him as a happy, healthy, caring adult truly filled my heart with joy.
To me, teaching is the perfect combination of autonomy and support. I have my own classroom where I can test my ideas and set my own ground rules, but I also work in a school filled with other teachers who are always willing listen to me or help out in a pinch. I think every school can be that way if teachers remember to value each other and make the time build relationships not just with the students, but with the adults.
As a teacher, I am thankful that on holidays like Thanksgiving I get to be home with my family. Teachers don’t have to be on call; I don’t have to decide whether the time and a half is worth it to work on a holiday. Schools are closed. There won’t be an emergency to call me in. I am home for the holidays. And I am thankful.