A Teacher's Gratitude

I have had many friends and colleagues ask about my first weeks teaching in the intermediate division. All I can say is GREAT! It truly has been a great experience so far. I feel a renewed sense of energy and excitement for teaching. It has been busy. I spend many evenings late at work as I did in my first years teaching - figuring out the perfect hook to kick-start a lesson, finding relevant and captivating materials for reading and inquiry, moderating with my wonderful teaching partners as I navigate assessment. I have loved every minute!

Why you ask? It's the kids! They have been so kind, so patient, so understanding. From the very first day when they walked into an empty classroom, they have had open minds and open hearts. We have created a cozy physical space where we all enjoy working and learning together. The wooden table and bench my grandpa made many years ago is perched under the window. It fills me with joy when I see students sitting at it side by side. I have made many funny errors - like saying "hocus pocus" waiting for them to say "everybody focus" back - a gimmick I used in the primary division. I have also started singing my primary prayer before lunch without realizing it (to my delight when a few of my students I taught in Grade 2 chimed right in with me). We just laugh and carry on. The days are very different from primary. I haven't tied any shoes, opened any lunch containers, put on a bandaid, or wiped any noses. I have, however, comforted and consoled, as I recognize that navigating the muddy waters of early adolescence isn't easy. Their troubles are many. Unlike primary students who are so quick to find you with the littlest question or concern, intermediates seem to hold their worries a little closer, a little tighter: making the building of relationships even more essential.

At our Spiritual Development day, Dr. Terry Johnson Nelson challenged us to "let the kids get to us". In staff rooms we often say and hear "they are really getting to me today". His response - GOOD! Fall in love with kids again, let them get to you. I have really tried to take this to heart. I have been honest with them - acknowledging that I will make many mistakes and I don't know all the answers, but together, we will learn and grow, and transform the world in small meaningful ways. The response has been positive!

So on this Thanksgiving day, I am grateful for my calling to be an educator. I feel so blessed to know deep down that I am doing each and every day what I am meant to do. It is not my job, my profession, to teach is my calling. I am so grateful for my students past and present; for being open to new challenges and learning opportunities. We have had our fair share of struggles throughout the years, but together we have gone great places! Thank you for getting to me, and allowing me to get you as well. We have much to be grateful for.


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