Me: "You could, you'd just have to ask a teacher to lead it."
Student A: "Why can't you do it?"
M: "Well, it's a little late to start this year, and I won't be here next year."
Student B: "YOU'RE LEAVING?!?!"
(Side note: Yes, I had told them before, months before, back in the fall, apparently when it didn't matter nearly as much.)
Student C: "You can't leave us! Where are you going?"
M: "To Oregon."
SB: "What's in Oregon?"
M: "My sister and her husband and her little baby."
SC: "But we're here."
M: "Y'all complain all the time when I make you do work, and now you're complaining that I won't be around to make you do work anymore."
SB: "Yes, but you actually teach us!"
SC: "I'm too upset. I'm not talking to you anymore."
We have 6 weeks left at school here (28.5 days, to be precise), and sometimes I hang out on that countdown a little too much. Today reminded me to be more reflective, because there is still good here to be had.
There is still good to be had when I emerge from the shower to hear my husband playing the cello.
There is still good to be had when a boy says, "I LIKE this book." (How It Went Down, so credit to you, Mom!)
There is still good to be had when my evaluator says, "The students were silent during reading time. They must really like reading."
There is still good to be had when a student asks, "Will we still be doing work after testing?" and another student replies, "You Know Ms. Vander Haak will still be giving us work." I'll take that as maintaining high expectations.
There is still good to be had when a student runs up to announce her new job.
There is still good to be had when a student just needs a hug.
This is all starting to remind me of the title I gave this blog way back two years ago. Which makes me feel old because I know how much I've changed since I first created this. Last year I spent planning sitting on the floor on my classroom, trying to ground myself. This year I spend planning at my desk, reassuring myself I'm a real adult.
At the end of the day, no matter what else happened, I remind myself that my students still all think I'm a real teacher. They call me, "Mrs. Vander Haak." They run to me in a crisis. All these little souls seem to believe in me more than I believe in myself sometimes.
This is all starting to remind me of a poem I wrote one of my student teaching classes. So I will include that below, as a final thought. I'll just add this commentary: perhaps we are all here to believe in each other, because we belong to each other, in ubuntu, in God, in everything.
I believe in you.
You who hate me.
You who love me.
You who feel nothing.
You who feel love half the time
and hate half
(and upset my soul on a daily basis).
You who put tape in my hair.
You who write me letters.
You who lean in and whisper in my ear.
You who tell me to leave you alone.
You who ask me for help.
You who need help but refuse to ask.
You who help me rearrange the chairs.
You who leave at the bell every day.
You who jump over the desks.
You who throw cards in the air.
You who make bad jokes
(and sometimes funny ones).
You who hug me.
You who glare at me.
You who help me carry things.
You who greet me in the halls.
You who avert your eyes outside of class(her? I don’t know her).
You who mislead me.
You who open up to me.
You who turn up the music when I leave the room.
You who laugh when I return.
You who avoid me.
You who seek me out.
You who ask much.
You who want nothing.
You who misuse vocabulary words.
You who have strokes of genius.
You whom I may very well never understand.
You whom, of course, I wish I could.
You all, whom sometimes I lie in bed thinking about,
– at night, or in that flash after the alarm.
You whom I check on every
You whom I cheer for your successes
(often more than you).
You whom I grieve your failures
because they are a choice
that I have been told I must allow
or they are the result of factors
that I cannot change
because as much as I’d like to reach into your life and fix it all -
You who will forever be my freshman alliance.
I am new at this
So I’m sorry for what I have done wrong.
Please bear with me.
Please know that I am trying.
Please know that I care
And please know that I believe in you.
We are human.
We belong to each other.
We can do anything.
Don’t let Anyone Ever tell you otherwise.