There are times when teaching can be an eternally frustrating profession. 8th graders, by and large, are not a gracious group, and they are just as quick to flip you off behind your back as they are to smile at you. There are days, okay weeks, when I wonder why I do this, what would drive me to CHOOSE this as the grade I teach (because yes, I graduated college wanting to teach middle school), such as the day that I had a kid swear at me, then not only walk out of my room, but actually LEAVE school grounds. But mostly, I understand that I do what I do because I feel like there are kids who do need me, and I want to be there for them. And the rare time that one of those kids says thanks, it makes all the other crap that comes along with teaching fade into the background. This morning, I logged onto Myspace to find a message from one of last year's students. [Sidenote: Yes, I do let my students add me after the school year is over. While there are two schools of thought on this, I feel that there are times when kids need an adult to reach out to, but feel they can't to their parents...so I like that I can there for them via the internet.] This boy was, wow, one of my favorites. He had a dry sense of humor above what you usually find in an 8th grader, and he was just a joy to have in class, in that he kept me on my toes. Unfortunately, he was for whatever reason, a target of the popular kids to bully. While we kept an eye on it best we could, he would never give us any information to get anyone in trouble.
On the last day of school, during 9th hour, I was hanging out in the office, bothering the secretaries (because I had the super sweet last hour prep, which I will miss so much next year!), when this boy came into the office, almost in tears. He told the secretary that someone stole his yearbook. She went back to the admin, but they were both busy (discipline was insane at the end of the year), so she just told him, Sorry, you'll have to get it back yourself. I stood up and said, C'mon, let's go get your yearbook back. I found the boy who had it, thought about reading him the riot act, but then realized that school was over in 20 minutes, and he knew as well as I did that there wasn't much I could do to punish him, I gave the book back to Tyler, who made me swear that I wouldn't make the boy come apologize to him.
Today, Tyler sent me this (& please ignore the spelling and grammar! It embarasses me as their English teacher, but they forget everything I taught them while on the internet):
"i never really got to thank you for standing up and getting my yearbook back when no 1 else would... it really means alot to me.
i had a great year and will miss you and i hope you feel the same so have a great summer"
Yes, this is why I do what I do.