Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day to You... the teacher

I know it sounds odd to wish a Happy Mother's Day to a teacher, but you are just that. For 7 hours a day and 9 months of the year, you are a mother. No not in the traditional , technical sense of it all, but you are in some way to those little faces who enter your room everyday. You are the hugger, the cheerleader, the supporter, the stern disciplinarian, and the maternal figure for those few hours of the day. You pray for them, counsel them, and even scold them as any mother would do to her child when she or he may need it. You secretly leap for joy when your children accomplish something you knew they could do if only they put forth a little more effort. You secretly cry for them when they have been given bad news or suffered some type of set back in their education or even in their personal lives. Yes, you are a mother!

You may not have children of your own, but you do have these beautiful creatures for some time. Or you may have your own children, but always stop yourself when you are asked how many children you do have because you do find yourself adding the 25 or so precious boys and girls you have in your classroom. Yes, you are a mother!

For me personally, the children that enter my room ever year never truly leave my heart. I am blessed to teach in my own quiet community where I see most of the them from time to time. They either play football along with my youngest son or they are soon to graduate along with my oldest son. I see them in grocery stores, at a school function, or when they come for a visit with one of my boys. I feel that I am forever bonded to their lives, because for a short time I was responsible for what they were learning and helping to develop them into strong citizens of our community. For those that I do not see as often, I am shocked to see them so grown. In my mind they are perpetual fifth graders. And it astonishes me when they are shocked that I remember them so clearly. How could I not remember them when they were in my room just a few short hours ago (even though it truly has been a few years)?  When I see them, I groan at them for getting older, but then praise them for who they have become and encourage them to keep up the great work. Or I silently pray for them if I see the path they have chosen isn't what I had hoped. All in all, I do tell them that I love them and think about them often.

So whether we truly realize it or not, we are mothers to the children we teach every day of every year and then beyond those years. In reflection of this time of year when we are winding things down and preparing to move them on to the next grade, our students have affected us and made us who we are more than we affected them and made them who they are. And that is one of the many reasons why I return to that room every year... to learn from them and to love them like only a mother would. Even if it's just for a short time.

Happy "Mother's Day" to teachers everywhere.

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