Thoughts from Home

So today is the first day of my maternity leave. I sit here after a five-day fall break wondering when I’ll go into labour and meet my new little boy.

I have a lot of time to think.

In my thoughts now are the students who are in the classroom with my replacement learning to read and respond to a different person’s body language, expectations, rules and reactions. I’m worried and hopeful.

Maybe she’ll reach those kids I wasn’t able to. Maybe she’ll be the Math teacher I wish I could be.

Why would I be concerned about what’s going on when I’m a free woman? Free to watch all the pvr’d TV I want!!!

Because I read a book and saw a speaker.

I read a book called Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential – and Endangered by Dr. Bruce Perry. I went to his session in Edmonton and listened to his passion for the neuro-development of children. He helped me understand my students better and changed my perspective on my role as a teacher in a classroom with severe behavioural issues. I finally felt that I was able to change things I was doing to help students feel loved, appreciated, needed and wanted.

I care about my students more than I ever thought I would. Sure, I get annoyed when we work on a unit and the evidence of learning is there one day and the next day is seems to have disappeared. But after having read Dr. Perry’s book I realized I’m dealing with kids who have had so many struggles already and they may not be ready to learn. My job is to push forward while knowing that I will have to repeat myself innumerable times and hope that one day, it will click. By caring, I am helping to open the door to learning.

So once again, I feel that my first principal who told me (with my best interests at heart) that I was too soft and needed to create more distance between myself and my students, was mistaken. The passion and caring I feel about my job, my students and their lives is what makes me a better teacher. The fact that I am at home, thinking about my little school, the students there and the staff I left is not me being weird or controlling. It is a demonstration that I want those kids to succeed, those teachers and our EA to be empowered to be the best that they can be and have a successful year. I know they will. I believe they will.

If you teach kids, you need to read Dr. Bruce Perry’s book. It will break your heart and give you hope for what can be if we recognize children’s need for love and understanding from all the adults around them. I don’t need to be “the teacher” for all my students. I do need to be an understanding, compassionate and loving person for anyone who needs me.

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