Why I teach

It has been a rough year and there are days I ask myself why am I still teaching.   Deep down I know the answer to that question but there are days that I lose my way.  Last week was one of those odd days ( well really week).

It was a great beginning to a day.  My rock and rolling 5th graders had finally gotten into the swing of school.   We had read, were working on thank you letters to Target for their support in our Zoo field trip and we were humming along.   The class was quietly writing and I was really conferencing with them.   We were having great conversations about what do you add to a letter that goes to a large corporation.   I was so proud of them.

But as we were working I began to sweat, a small catch in my lower right  back began to not be so small and I realized I was sick.   I was sure if I just moved around I would be fine but that only made it worse.  I slid out of my room to the teacher next door and asked for help.  I was going down fast and not sure why.    I was working to act cool, not scare my students and then my daughter who teaches across the hall stepped out to say are you ok.

The quick answer to that was No.     With support from the office I found myself in a discuss with the school nurse and principal about heading to the clinic.  My student who never remembers her medication  managed to slip down and check on me with the excuse of getting her meds. Darn, I did not want her to see this but now I knew reports were heading to the classroom that I was really sick. The conversation among adults continued, I was doubled over in pain and the ambulance was on its way.

The short version is I was off to the ER with a kidney stone.  (Painful if you have not had one –  drink lots of water to help avoid this pain.)  Three days later, tales of awful reserve teachers coming my way through student e-mails – using google docs., reports of awful student behavior coming my way from other teachers.

And I am wondering why am I still teaching?    But the next Monday morning came and I was back at school ( moving slow but back).   Pedro, a fairly quiet guy who only talks once or twice a week, is the first student in the room.  His look tells me he is very relieved to see me return.  He is reserved, just standing there when he looks around and turns to me with a shy grin.   He opens his arms wide for a huge hug and smiles saying  ” Oh what the hell – I am so glad you are back.”

Needless to say I knew at that moment why I teach!

I must say the day was still filled with behavior struggles along with hugs, students turning all day to be sure I was ok, I had not left the room, I was drinking enough water and making comments about please don’t do that again.

I promise I will try my best to not do that again!

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About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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3 Responses to Why I teach

  1. Lori says:

    I’m off to get a glass of water right now! I hope it has passed, or whatever it is that they do to go away! Love the student comment!

  2. Thankfully you are on the mend. Teaching can be such a wild roller coaster ride. One moment thrilling and the next distressing. The great experiences seem to fade quickly sometimes into tricky turns that leave us gasping. I am glad you were able to persevere and find an answer to why you still teach!

  3. Terje says:

    This was a scary experience for you to go through. I am glad you are fine and back at school. Pedro’s greeting was priceless.

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