Sunday, October 11, 2015


As a substitute elementary teacher over the past 7 years in 2 school districts, I've gained more than I probably taught the students.

First, is the wonderful artwork that hangs on my refrigerator (with my granddaughter's). It's always a shy passing of the paper from the student to me.....often it's the quietest student who does this. I cherish their art because they take such pride in sharing it. No way am I able to throw it away. Each child's art reminds me that giving is such a joyful process.

I've learned that no matter how frustrated or tired I feel with a disruptive class, I will probably get an impromptu hug from one of them. In this day and age of being so careful around children, this act from a child startled me at first, but I've learned that they hug fast, and then they are on to something else that's caught their attention. They are quick to praise. Some, you quickly realize, are "buttering me up" with a quick hug or compliment. Most are just sincere "glad you are here" expressions. Many just miss their moms and dads a lot, and a hug comforts them.

It's easy to tell which child receives attention and guidance at home and those who do not. I wish all parents did this - if they just realize how very important their time is to the happy development of their child. The teachers play so many roles in a child's life and there aren't enough hours in their day to do a parent's role too . And that's one of the most important things I've learned.

Teachers, the majority of them, are amazing. It took me being in their ranks, for hours, or a day at time, to realize just how they are pulled in so many different directions......their own children and spouse, extended family members, students, parents of students, other teachers, school administration, district administration and the State, their union. That's not even taking into consideration paper grading, testing, after school activities, continuing education, and a pursuit of personal interests. I am sometimes exhausted after a few hours of staying ahead of 20 - 30 students. I am not sure I ever had the stamina to do what they do day after day.

So as Michigan teachers have completed a month of a new school year, I extend a hip hip hooray for all they do. Thank you for being dedicated to your students!



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