Many of you may wonder why I would begin a career in teaching at my age, especially in Oklahoma, the 49th lowest paid state for teachers in the nation
This is why.
At the end of our day yesterday, we had 10 free minutes. I told the students they could read a book or work on the computers teaching a monster to read. A few of my students asked me if they could write on the board. It is customary for them to go to the board each day and write words of a different alphabet letter. So, “Sure!” I said, and this is what I got.
All the hours of sweat and tears I’ve put into learning about teaching special ed, the worrying if my lesson plans were good enough or my IEP goals would be achievable were worth it. This was priceless!
We’re on week three. I have a dozen children, one has already come and gone due to a parent moving, and another is soon to follow. A title I school brings with it not just poverty, but tremendous absenteeism and transient families. It breaks my heart to see these students uprooted time and time again. How will they ever learn to read? And build trusting relationships? And break the cycle?
There’s a big rocking chair in my room all comfy with a pillow and teddy bear that you can find me sitting in for read aloud time. I’m a grandmother. It’s what we were made to do. Many of these students need that in their lives.
There’s a chill area that they can lay on a blanket with a huge bear as large as they are or they can read with a giant bean bag shark or dolphin. They can escape their reality in room 309 and go to the sea.
In room 309 we work hard, and we play hard. Yesterday we ate popcorn in the morning and jelly beans in the afternoon as we learned about our five senses. We took a nature walk and saw three turtles, a bee, and a handful of leaves already changing to the colors of fall. We touched the cool, wet water in the pond, and smelled honeysuckle.
When the day is through one thing I want these children to know is that they are given an opportunity to experience life to its fullest, even if it’s just in the confines of their school perimeter. Every one of them is being taught they have the same opportunity as anyone to be the best at whatever they want to be. But most of all, they are taught they are loved. In room 309 where it’s safe and secure.
And my whiteboard is proof that regardless of their disabilities and their pursestrings, they get it. The love thing. And they are giving it back. And it warms my heart. ❤And they are writing. My passion.
I love those kids. My little home away from home. Contrary to popular belief, they are the ones teaching me. About life. From a perspective most do not see from, but a very real one.
As I enter my classroom this day, I’ll reluctantly wipe off the board. For another day. A brand new day full of wonder. Full of learning. But I’ll cherish those last 10 minutes of free time yesterday for years to come. For they tell me I’ve been accepted. I’ve gained their trust. Now let me capture their hearts and their minds. And let the learning curve soar!
See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:10
Love and laughter,