Wednesday, March 3, 2010

COURAGE brought to you by a 15 year old girl... Alternate Title:Courage for Beginning Teachers

I'm a second year high school teacher. It is interesting to watch people's reactions when I tell them this for the first time. They often look at me like I've just demonstrated human flight. The reaction is a mixture of shock, disbelief, and I hope, a little admiration. Sometimes there's a little disgust or pity thrown in there, but we'll just ignore those people.

I am the first to admit that my job is by no means easy, but sometimes I get to the end of my day and think, "I love my job." Don't get me wrong... there are often days when I have the opposite reaction, and these days probably come about more often than I would like. Sometimes personal situations, parents, students, and administrators converge to make you question your career choice. This is when a teacher's courage is tested. It takes gutts to keep going. For the most part, I really enjoy the students, and sometimes they just make your day. Sometimes they give you the push that you needed to keep going. Sometimes they give you courage when you thought it was all spent up. Below is a case in point...

As a high school teacher, you don't get lots of holiday gifts. Elementary school teachers just rake in the swag. Not so much with high school teachers. I teach 130 kids, and I received three gifts and two cards this year. Now I don't want this to sound like I'm not grateful...I am! I don't expect to get gifts at all which is why when I opened this card, I shed a few tears of gratitude. This particular student knew that my husband had left in November. I told very few students, but she had picked up on a weird vibe and asked me if I was ok. I told her a very very very edited version of my personal situation. She listened and told me that she was very sorry that I was going through this. We didn't discuss it again. Then the day before Christmas break, this card was waiting for me on my computer key board. When teaching gets hard, when life gets hard, it is things like this that give you the courage to keep going.

My advice to beginning teachers... make sure you look for these moments in every single day and soak up all the courage you can get from them... soak it up and put it in the bank for a rainy day. Or take a picture of it and post it on your blog for eternity :)


  1. that card is the sweetest and would have brought me much comfort in your shoes - thanks for sharing :)

  2. High School teachers are amazing. You are amazing! You've touched a young life just starting her voyage of discovery. Good luck on your voyage.

  3. So sweet, her sentiments, her concern, her taking the time to share both with you.

  4. OMGoodness! I too teach (only I'm a Middle School teacher). You're right when you say that it's those kids that just keep you going some days. It's a Friday after 5pm and I just arrived home from a VERY long day at work--but I had students willing to stay to work on improving their grade---How can I say no to that? Thank you for sharing such a beautiful & personal sentiment---they may be crazy teenagers, but they are VERY perceptive.

    Hugs & Blessings!

  5. I work in special education in a middle school and I get a lot of those same looks from people, ranging from "what, are you nuts" to "you are a special person"

    Thank you for sharing the card from your student. LIke you, I never expect gifts of any kind from my students (inner city school) but I often get drawings and even letters that express sentiments similar to that which you shared.

    I cherish and save every one.

    PS found you at Kind Over Matter....

  6. What a sweet story, and what a delightful young woman! :o)


  7. Aw, as an aspiring teacher (I start my Master's next spring in Education) it's stories like this that I hear that keep me hopeful!

    And, I found you from Kind over Matter...