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For the Love of It

November 5, 2014

Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh is the sound I make as I crawl into my cozy bed at 4:41 p.m. It’s not a bad “wah” though but more like an exhausted “wah.”

The last few weeks have gone by in a blur. First, there was some school. You know, classes in the morning and afternoon–seeing friends, laughing, chatting, doing some group work. Then it was going to see a ton of shows–two a week for a month: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Four SeasonsWickedJulie Madly DeeplyMadama Butterfly… and a few documentaries at my favourite local cinema. Then it was a lot of going out and seeing friends. Then it was a lot of work at school because of my procrastination (and neglect of the work from prior weeks). The second last week of October was brutal, but I survived through it all.

And now, it’s the first week of November, and I’m already halfway through my placement at an elementary school. Look at me, I’m a student teacher!

The other day, I met up my the bff for coffee and a documentary. She asked me what I was doing with so many bags, carrying so many things. I told her I had taught a lesson that day and that all the bags contained all of my material. I told her that I had become one of “those” teachers–the ones who always seemed to be buried under books and bags and cover all over in chalk. You see, in high school, a bunch of us kids used to poke fun at one of our teachers for constantly rolling a cart around–that cart, of course, carried her folders, her binders, her textbooks, and all of her other materials. We always thought it was so funny that we could always find her wheeling this cart up and down the hallway… but honestly? Now, I really get her.

I’m sure that whenever I get a full-time teaching gig, I’ll have to do some cart pushing too. Already, I find myself toppling over on busses because of my many bags. My social studies prof told me once that if she got up to leave somewhere and wasn’t holding a bag in each of her hands, she knew she was missing something. Now I constantly have that feeling too. Constantly.

The world of teaching that I have found myself thrown into is, to be honest, the best world that I have ever known. The kids are so marvellous; after only a few days at the elementary school, I had already found myself thinking about how much I would miss them after my placement is up.

Nine-year-olds are just so full of enthusiasm. They’re always jumping up and down and calling your name. They’re always asking you if you like their art work… if you like their costume… if you want to listen to their story… if you can repeat the question… if you can repeat the question again… if you can whistle… if you can snap your fingers… if you can… etc., etc.

I told the kids today during arts & craft that I had never heard my name called so often in a day. Miss, miss, miss! They say. Once, I even got a Missus. I turned to the boy and said, “You just called me my mom!”

Yesterday, a fellow student teacher yelled Ms. T- down the hallway to get my attention as the students were going up to their classes.

I didn’t hear her, so she yelled out “Tina!”

The kid I was walking with turned to me, gave me a mischievous grin and said, “Tina?”

I shook my head.

“I know your name now!!!!!!”

I denied that it was my name–that, in fact, my name was really just Ms. T-.

I rushed him up to class and thought that was the end of it.

Ten minutes later, three boys came up to me and said, “We know your real name!”

I laughed.

Everyday, the same five things happen: someone cries, someone gets detention, someone lost his/her pencil, someone forgot his/her agenda, and someone’s desk is moved. Someone pulls on your shirt to get your attention. Someone yells “Miss! Miss!” from across the room. Someone needs help while another someone needs you to fix something for him/her while another person is done and is constantly asking you what the next task is.

But despite the craziness of it all, I love it. I love the fact that I am not sitting on my bottom all day but am instead involved with others. I love that I am able to support and help them. I love that despite how tired I’m feeling or how stressed out I am about my thesis, that I still come to the classroom everyday and try to give the best of me to my students.

Everyday, I come home from school, and I find that I always have to spend at least 2 hours in bed before I’m ready to sit at my desk and plan for the next day’s lessons. I always find myself wondering how the other teachers do it. How do they take care of 25 nine-year-olds and then go home to take care of their own children? I truly admire that.

I wake up early every morning to catch my bus. Luckily, the school is only one bus ride away, but I’m still tired when I wake up in the morning. I’m exhausted actually, and I always say, “I just want to lie in bed today.”

But then I remember the kids, and I think about how eager I am to get to school to be with them. School is so much fun for me because of the wonderful questions the students ask, because of their natural inquisitive nature, because of their thirst for knowledge.

I’ve been planning and teaching an adventure story writing unit for the past week-and-a-half now. Today was the first day that the kids were given a chance to actually start planning their own adventure stories and writing the rough copy. I was shocked at how excited they were. I knew they would like writing their own stories… but I had no idea that they would like it that much.

Get thisstudents were actually begging to stay in for recess to work on their adventure stories.

Never in my life had I ever given up a recess to stay in to do school work. Never.

I smiled oh-so-brightly as I passed out the adventure story booklets.

And in-between lessons, when students had finished their work, they would come up to me and ask if I would give them back their adventure story booklet, so they could continue working on their stories. One girl even came up to me at the end of the day and asked if she could take hers home for homework, and when I said that we’d work on them tomorrow during class, she went away saying, “Aw.”

It’s hard for me even now to express to all of you readers the joy that I felt and the joy that I feel. As a writer, I am thrilled to be able to pass on the magic of writing to others. One boy in my class who particularly likes to get up and walk around during lessons and talk to others took to the adventure writing like no other. He had already written two pages of his rough copy while everyone else was still planning.

As a teacher, I am singing with joy that my students love to learn–that my students are finding meaning and happiness in education. It is every teacher’s dream to be able to show the true magic of learning.

On one of the first days of placement, I met a woman who volunteers at the school everyday. She is in her 60s, is a retired art teacher, and is also one of the most caring individuals I have ever met. After we chatted for some time, she suddenly leaned in very close to me and said, “You will like it a lot. It is very rewarding…. I wish you (and here she stood up and threw her arms out) a lot of satisfaction and the best of luck!”

I already knew that teaching would be rewarding, but now, I know that more than ever.

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