Why Bother To Handle A Heart With Care?
Growing up, I did not aspire to become a public school teacher, instead, I thought I wanted to be the president of the United States. But entering college the first time, I set my sights on becoming a social worker because I wanted to help people. Then after two years and an associate’s degree, I fell in love, married and set aside college for the career of wife and mom.
Growing A Teacher’s Heart
Along the parenting pathway, I stepped into opportunities such as teaching children’s Sunday school, organizing Vacation Bible School, and coaching one of my sons’ soccer teams. About the same time our oldest son became school aged, I joined a homeschooling coop, taught my kids at home and volunteered to teach P.E. to other homeschooled kids. It was a good run, so to speak, raising our sons while participating fully in their education.
But still, in the back of my mind, there was that unfinished business of completing my own education and returning to what I’d left when I’d married; figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
After we launched our two oldest sons from the nest, I returned to college. Our youngest son was close to crossing the finish line in high school and it seemed like the right time for me to finish what I’d started; college.
Though a much older student now, I was not too old to learn. Completing my bachelor’s degree, I went to work in a public school as a teacher’s assistant. But after my first day on the job, I realized I’d never be content as an assistant. I wanted to be the teacher. Off to school I went again, and two years later, my teaching certificate earned me my own classroom.
Even after years of teaching Sunday school and educating my own sons, it did not dawn on me that teaching was my forte, my calling, and passion. But now I know and so do my students.
It is a privilege to be entrusted by parents to nurture their child and a privilege that children entrust me to teach them. On any given day, students share their excitement about some family event; a sister returning home from college, a father coming home from his long distance job, or the trip they will be taking to visit relatives.
They entrust me to fix their friendship problems, to stand up for them when someone puts them down and to extend empathy when their pet dies. They feel vulnerable when we practice verb conjugation, use a protractor to measure angles, or writing essays. They know they don’t know everything, and they don’t want to feel dumb. But they also know that nobody knows everything, including their teacher. In essence, my students trust me to handle their hearts with care.
Teaching in public school requires an education, but as a teacher, handling a student’s heart with care is something my students teach me every day.
Why bother to handle a heart with care? It is worth it because that is something students ask for, more than anything else.