Walking in to a quiet school today, I had no idea what to expect. I think it is like that every day we walk in to our schools, which is one of the reasons we love it here: no day is the same as the one before it. Today would be very different, however, as I received a visit from a former student. She is a freshman this year, and thought she'd pop in to see if I was here over Winter Break. I was, of course, and she ended up staying for the better part of the day. We had lunch with my assistant principal (we both work most days over the holiday), and while perhaps I didn't get as much done as I had planned, I could not think of a better way to spend a cold, wintry day than with a student I am honored to know.
As educators, we keep in contact with many students over the years, and always like to think that we are making a difference in their lives.
Sometimes we don't see that until years later.
Sometimes not at all.
Sometimes we hear of their trials and tribulations.
Sometimes we hear of major success stories and all we can do is sit back and listen, in awe of the changes in mindset and life choices these kids make over the years as they journey into adulthood.
This was my experience today, and it reminds me of the reasons I went into education in the first place. It sounds so very cliche, that response of: "I want to make a difference in the lives of children." When you see it live, up close and personal, however, there is nothing better. The power of building relationships, of working to help kids make sense of it all, goes a long way. We read of the impact this has in the classroom - of the student transformations, both academically and personally, that can transpire when there is a solid bond between educator and student. What we don't read or hear about as often is the power this has to change the life of the adult as well.
My life has changed for the better many times over because of the things I have learned from students, because of the bonds that have been created over the years, because of the countless hours per week I have spent with these incredible kids.
I am honored and blessed to be in the field of public education today.