My students weren't my biological children, but they were all my kids. I cried for them and with them, I fought for them and against them, I cheered for them and supported them and I held their hands as we walked through the dangerous valleys and peaks of high school mathematics.
It was my calling. It was what I was put on this Earth to do. I know this because it was amazing, I was amazing. Not every semester, of course, or with every class, but when the chemistry was right I simply could not deny that I was walking the path God had set out before me. It was beautiful, it was euphoric.
No one could stop me from pouring my entire soul into every lesson, every question, every activity and every child on my path. I would walk around the hallways with hand-written math problems hanging around my neck, I would invent fictitious civilizations that we would have to save with our math, I would stay up all night answering e-mails, updating blogs or websites and printing full-color worksheets, homework calendars and "goodies" for my kids and I would wear every ridiculous, nerdy math t-shirt I could get my hands on (or create!). My goal was to shred the fear and anxiety surrounding the subject I had come to love and to build a community of shared learning where we could all discover new techniques in problem solving.
There were connections outside of the classroom as well. I tutored after school, chaperoned the prom, played paintball, bingo and dodgeball with students on their Senior trip, and spent countless days of my life at all types of sporting events (including the wildly popular Thanksgiving Eve Basketball game) and supported our theater and music program each season. And then there were the clubs... of course I advised the Math Tam/Math Club for years, but then there were others - Asian American Awareness Club, Karma Club, Anime Club, Animal Rights Club and the funniest one of all: Video Game Club.
At the end of the year, when the state tests came, I would call every single house of every single student I had to tell them their grade - good news or bad news - and have our last conversation before summer. It was the last of many, because I had the annoying habit of calling up the houses of my kids (especially the forgetful ones) for all types of things, "Hey, how's that homework going?" or "Any questions about tomorrow's test... Yeeeess, the test is TOMORROW," or, my favorite, "Hi Mom/Dad/Grandma/Grandpa, did your child tell you how awesome he/she was in class today?"
Teaching is the single most rewarding profession on this planet. The only thing that I can imagine holding a candle to it is parenthood. I am proud I was a teacher. No, let me rephrase that: I am proud that I AM a teacher ~ whether I am ever healthy enough to be able to re-enter the classroom, or achieve the greatest I once so mindlessly lived in, I don't believe anything can take away the teacher's soul within.
This post was written for a RemembeRED Prompt.
"Tell the story (without any trivialization or modesty) of something in your life that you are proud of."
Look easy? I'm guessing it will be a bit tougher than you think.
We are so used to downplaying ourselves, of apologizing for pointing out our own accomplishments. And? We'll have none of that here!
Your word limit is 700 words.