I’m three weeks in to our school year with students. It’s been a great three weeks. My students are exceptional! Of course, I knew that already. I knew I’d have a day full of bright, intelligent, fun kiddos. I was so ready to get this year started!
I am one blessed teacher. I get to share my day with 102 students who have so many differences and similarities. All of those things make me excited and grateful to be back in my classroom-happy-place.
A lot of people have told me over the years that I get to teach the “fun” stuff so loving my job is a piece of cake. They say it’s EASY to love my job. These types of things are always said in sarcastic or even a cynical way. I feel the jealousy heat coming from them.
Well, I tell you, when I was choosing my path to teach…what I was set out to do was to LOVE what I do… no matter what I chose. Art just happened to be THE THING I love and the thing I chose. If a math, English or history (insert subject of choice here) teacher doesn’t LOVE their subject then perhaps they shouldn’t teach it?
I promise you, I’m not some dreamer that thinks ONLY loving your subject is all there is to loving a teaching position. Loving your students is first and foremost and this love must begin before you even meet them! As teachers, we MUST have our minds made up that each and every student who enters our doors are precious and worthy of our love. My perspective on this has, of course, developed over the years. I didn’t start out exactly like this in the beginning. (I wish I had!) I knew I always wanted to teach, but I didn’t start out with this exact perspective I’m going to write about. It’s something that I’ve developed and I continue to work on daily. You have to maintain it! Maybe this blog will help a newer teacher? This part of my teacher perspective, I believe, is the most important part. Is it easy all the time? Not 100% of the time, I assure you.
I have had students over the years who were hard to love. They made it so hard to love that I spent hours lamenting over what I could do to help them, to help me. I ended up coming to the realization that praying for them, their class, my sanity, but mostly that God would take over the situation was the best thing I could do. I’ve prayed over them, around them and placed verses under the tables where they sit. There were times it was really hard. They hated art, hated my classroom and hated me. (eeek!) So, those of you that think art class is easy to teach, because all kids love art, that is just not the truth. ALL students do not enjoy creating art, learning about artists or even like my teaching style or personality.
When any of those things are barriers around students, it’s hard to keep the right teacher perspective. But it has to be developed and continued! You have to keep on keeping on. YOU have to keep your loving perspective. It really is up to you. You might even have a full class of students who seem to all bring a bag full of hate into your classroom each time they enter, but you have to battle back with love. Nothing else will work. It’s exhausting! I admit, it will wear you out, but if you can’t continue to have that perspective of love, this will be the first step to your downfall as a teacher. This will be a door that opens to a negative world that not only you will feel, but all those you teach and work with will feel as well. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen people I work with grumble and groan every single day about their classes, their students, their responsibilities of lesson planning, etc. It’s ugly. I always questioned why they were teachers? (silently of course) But I admit, I learned from these teachers as well. I learned that I do not want to be that teacher. We can all learn from good examples AND bad examples. Hold onto those lessons and build up your POSITIVE teacher perspective.
I pray daily to God, thanking Him for this vocation which I do so love. I also ask Him to bless our students and use me to show them His love. I hope to maintain and develop this each and every day He allows me to teach. I thank Him for showing me this perspective which truly is the main reason I love my job so much!