As my mind ponders the attitudes of thankfulness and gratitude, I’m reminded of so many wonderful things in life; the gifts of freedom, health, and the pursuit of one’s “life calling” to find happiness, family, friends, even the hardships that have brought each of us to this place that we call today! With my math brain always engaged in the background, I realized that in the past 22 years over 3900 families have entrusted me with their precious children. Many, of whom are now parents themselves.
As a teacher, I am trusted with the care and nurturing of the future generation. It is a serious and challenging task. Each day I’m awake at 4:45 am, oftentimes with no thought about the significance of this commission to care, educate, mold, and model.
I’m reminded of so many personal stories of joy; successes, failures, happiness and victories, sadness and defeat. I’ve taught so many “silver spoon kids.” They were destined to succeed from birth! They came to my classroom, each day, from homes where parents were involved. That was their silver spoon. Parents who knew the importance of an education and had the time to nurture, support, and interact with teachers. Not all of these success stories came from wealthy homes. But, their stories all have a familiar ring. Stories with “A DREAM, A GOAL, and A PLAN!” That’s what it takes; along with a little luck sometimes.
Today they are finance majors, engineers, business managers, doctors, nurses, career military, scientists, and even teachers. The roads to success were varied, some went to local community colleges, some to Alabama, Michigan, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and so many others. The important part was that they had the courage to take the first step to realize their individual dreams. I wonder if these families know how much they gave back?
I offered them a little bit of mathematics, did they know they brought meaning to my life? They trusted me with their most precious gifts. I am truly thankful for the opportunities.
I’m filled with gratitude for students who found a way to overcome challenges each and every day just to attend school. I wasn’t just there to offer them a lesson on Algebra or Calculus.
I was there to care for those who were homeless, some who spent every night in a shelter, students who lived with parents looking for work, addictions, abuse, or children who were here, in America, without their parents, some who couldn’t even speak English. I’m reminded of a few really sad days like Sept. 11th, or when a parent passed away, and a few days when a student had died over the weekend. At times like this I’m more than a teacher, people are counting on me to be a life-model each and every day!
With 22 years behind me, you can imagine all of the stories that fill my heart. Some of the names are forgotten, but the faces and the memories remain. I
have students who are currently attending the Air Force Academy, West Point, and the Naval Academy. There are others at Harvard, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Columbia. There are those at my alma mater the University of Central Florida, others at Florida State, and even those crazy University of Florida Gator kids. I have students who are almost doctors at University of Kansas Medical Center, those who are managing Panera Bread stores, and those who care for injured manatees and dolphins.
My scrap book and my HEART are filled with personal notes of gratitude and thanksgiving. When the job of education and being a professional educator gets hard, I simply stop and REFLECT ON THE MOMENTS THAT MATTER, ON
THE LIVES THAT I’VE TOUCHED, OR THE PARENTS AND FAMILIES THAT TRUSTED ME to be the best teacher that I could be each and every day.
Be sure to hop over to the other blogs and check out their thoughts of gratitude in this season of THANKS and GIVING!
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