Today was rough all over. You’ve heard it all from me before–the kids were heinous, I’m so misunderstood and underappreciated, my life seems to be one continuous headache these days. It’s just…reading posts like this and the news of more losses of jobs all over the place lends quite the perspective. At least I have a job, even if it’s not one I like at the moment.
As I bemoaned to my mom on the way home from school, I couldn’t help but mention a few kids who are NOT heinous and get all reflective about how, out of all the places I interviewed at or applied for, I still believe this particular school was the right choice. I think going back to teaching was the right choice. I think beginning a painstaking and careful process to change careers within the next few years is also the right choice (albeit one that will be even more difficult in the current economic climate) as well.
ANYway. For myself mostly, but also for anyone else who cares to read about it, I thought I’d share the kids I was talking about this afternoon. The ones who make it worth it. Tonight, as I’m going to be up finishing up my grading for the semester and deciding whether to take yet more Tylenol and so ready to NOT do this for a while, I want to remember that I’m thankful for:
- My noobs. I’ve talked about one of them before. I’ll call him Noob 1. He and his friend, Noob 2, aren’t total social outcasts or anything, but neither of them are winning popularity contests with their not-yet-changed voices or their constant references to World of Warcraft. Every day, they stay in my classroom during lunch, doing any menial tasks I ask them so they don’t have to go to the cafeteria. I am happy to oblige first of all because I remember hating, dreading even, lunchtime when I was in high school. Second, though–they make me smile. They’re a place of nonironic innocence, and it makes me happy in a pure way to give them a bit of a haven for 20 minutes of their day. Little do they know it’s one for me too.
- My note-writer. I’ve told you about her, too. She has continued to be a bright spot. She’s a mess–she’s one of the few I know I can be completely dorky and sarcastic with without her being totally confused. Not too long ago, during a lesson on simile, I used the term “penalized.” Well, of course they giggled. I giggled with them. It’s a funny word. Note-writer wouldn’t let it go, however, and class ran off-track for several minutes on end. Later in class, when they were doing their work, she brought me another note she had written for me. It read, “You have been PENALIZED like a bad boy who took a cookie!” And, in that one note, she brought together both what I had intended to teach them that day–and what I had decidedly not planned to explain.
- Pierce. She’s not technically a student, but one of my advisees. She’s obviously not had the easiest life, but I’ve never pried. She’s told me some stuff, but not a whole lot. Somewhere along the way, I earned her respect. She’s the only student I can honestly say I talk to like an adult. She has more common sense than anyone her age I’ve ever met, and she has plans for herself. She told me not too long ago that she was talking to another student who thought I had been run off because I was absent one day. She said she told them, “no way–Miss Holly is hard.” (“Hard,” by the way, is a good thing. Usually. I’m pretty sure, anyway.)
- Elian. Another advisee who moved to the U.S. when he was only about 9 or so. He’s cute, charming, and has a twinkly smile. He sticks around after advising time every week just to tell me about his plans. He talks about how he doesn’t party like the other kids because he wants to stay fit for sports. Last week, he told me about his plans to be an architect and build a family business so he can give his family members jobs. I think he’ll do it.
There are some more. It might be a little sad that there aren’t too many more–but the ones there are certainly do have a way of healing the damage the rest of them do so often.
Two bonus thankfuls:
- My friend Jenny came through on her way to her home in southern Indiana and had dinner with me tonight. She has spent the past several weeks in Europe. Regardless of where she’s been or for how long, for over a decade now, she has been a comfort and delight in my life in a way no one else has ever been.
- Three words: Ryan Adams tickets :).
Wait, wait!!! Edit: Happy birthday to my friend, and yours, Mike at Chez Bez. I’m thankful he was born and is with us and writing such beautiful things over there.