As I drove home I began to think of all the miracles that happen in our schools. As I mentioned before, winter months are hard on me. I don’t know if it is light deprivation from the lack of sun or if it is the cold that makes me miserable and down in the mouth but I’m always looking for ways to combat these feelings. When we think as teachers that we aren’t doing much or making a difference, we need to think about the miracles that happen every day. I began to think of the miracles that have happened while I was teaching.
As a new teacher, I was very concerned about my fifth grader who still couldn’t read at the end of the year. I didn’t think he should go on to middle school and would have to share this with the parent. It was my first year of teaching and I was scared to do this but I knew it was in the student’s best interest. When I finally told the mother, she hugged me and thanked me for caring about her son. She didn’t feel that anyone cared enough about his lack of skills and just kept passing him on. I never thought about it that way so I’m glad I stuck by my decision.
During my first year of teaching, I gave a student a failing grade the first nine weeks and his mother was furious. She threatened me by letting me know her husband was in law enforcement and would make my life rough unless I passed her son. I was so scared I didn’t know what to do but I really hate to be threatened. So I went to my substitute principal who I didn’t know very well (my principal went on extended sick leave right after he hired me) and she was magnificent. We called a meeting to confront both parents and the father was horrified as he apologized profusely for his wife and promised it wouldn’t happen. In fact, he had to file a report and was transferred far away from me. For a first year teacher, this was a miracle!
My first year of teaching high school was a treat. Apparently I made a student very upset with me and he promised to beat me up. He planned for some kids to stand outside the room and watch for adults. Instead of doing what he wanted, they ganged up on him and dragged him to the adminstrator’s office to tell their story. I was so proud of them!
A boy, who didn’t know the alphabet in 9th grade, learned to read and fill out job applications. He got a full time job when he graduated and even brought his new truck he bought to my house to show me. At graduation he bought me a dozen long stem red roses to thank me for helping him. It’s been almost 20 years but we still keep in touch.
When I had a house fire and had to move to a new house, some of my special ed students showed up at my house to help me move. I was so thankful because it would have been an overwhelming job for my husband and me but I hate to ask for help. I had mentioned that I was moving that weekend and they were there for me. As I thanked their parents for letting them help me, I was told that I had been there for their children and their children would be there for me. What an honor!
These are just some of the miracles that I have seen in my teaching career. What miracles do you see going on around you? If you don’t see any, maybe you just need to look harder. I think it is these miracles that have helped me be successful in the classroom.
Original image: 'god's office' http://www.flickr.com/photos/68175415@N00/323674659 by: Steve Johnson