to be a teacher or to not be a teacher.
This was, like it is for most young girls, the question I asked myself for many years as a child. I always thought that a part of me would love to stand in a classroom and teach precious children life lessons that would help them get through not only the rest of their school days, but more importantly, get through their life. This week, and for the next 2 weeks, I was given the opportunity to work as a classroom assistant for a 4th grade class at Bruns Academy. Bruns Academy is a special kind of school. It is ranked as second to the last of CMS schools, and is certainly not one that is known for it’s well behaved students. I think I can safely say that after this week I have answered my question from many years ago: to not be a teacher.
Now, by saying that, it may seem as if I have not enjoyed this past week, nor look forward to the next 2 that I will get the chance to be a part of. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I have come to develop a love for these 4th grade students that I did not think would be possible. While, of course, there are times that I wonder how I’m going to make it through the 4 hours that I have to stay there, I also get the biggest sense of joy when I walk through those doors in the morning and see all their smiling faces looking back at me. Most of these kids live harder lives than I can even imagine, which explains why many of them choose to use their time at school as a place to act out. I notice this in many of the students, and it would be very easy to let these moments turn you away from ever returning, as it has almost done many times to me. But this week I’ve had the chance to see what happens when you don’t let those moments scare you off. I believe that many of these kids will act out almost to just see who cares enough to stick it out and break through their hard exterior. This is not an easy task, and one of the reasons that I know I could never do this as a job, but when you finally do get those moments where the kids let their hard shells fall off, and they expose their true nature you just can’t help but smile. Even the “toughest” of the kids, when I leave at the end of the day, will stand in line to give me a hug goodbye…they may keep a frown on and say something under their breath, but the point is, they’re sad to see someone that they have grown accustomed to leave them, and if you are willing to commit to them and show them that you’re not going to just stop showing up just because they won’t listen, than eventually they’ll start giving you the end of the day hugs. This was something that I began to receive this week, and it was honestly one of the best feelings. Being an adult figure for these students that they feel comfortable, open, and honest with makes working there 100 times better. I love the laughter and the fun times I get to share with these kids, and while I don’t think I could do this for the rest of my life, I will cherish these next 3 weeks the best I can, because they, just like my sweet 4th grade class, truly are a gift from God.