Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Under the Surface

I went on a wine tour this past weekend to celebrate a friend's birthday. During the picnic lunch there was small talk conversation as to how everyone else knows the birthday girl. I said that I teach with her, and then one woman said, "I am a teacher too," we started chatting. She immediately began talking about how much she wants to leave her school, and how tired she is of teaching "those" type of children. Then she remarked how my school is also a low income school and questioned my take. I told her that I love teaching "those" type of children. She commented back that I "must not be one of those people that lets it get to me". Official end of the conversation...

I thought back to everything in the past six many times I have cried, how my heart swells at their words spoken, and how much I miss them even just after a weekend. I know I am not one of those people where things don't "get to me". Those of you who read my posts know the many entries I have posted about teaching. I also began analyzing what the differences in us as teachers could be where one would love it, and one would hate it. We both got into the teaching profession because we love teaching but, there is truly a difference in the teachers who teach at low income schools and those that do not. My idea? I think it is because the teachers that do know they are helping the children more by being there than by not. Sure it breaks our hearts on a consistent basis, but sometimes we are the only bright spots in a child's day.

If you were to step into the teacher's lounge during lunch with my teammates you would overhear us talking about our students, parents, and sometimes administration. I must admit, if I were an outsider I would question whether we liked teaching at all from our conversation. But there is a hidden understanding there. Teachers who teach in low income schools, especially for over three years, understand what each other is feeling even if the spoken words are not matching. We all care for them so much that by mini-venting, and joking we are able to alleviate some of that stress. Most conversations turn into light-hearted discussions, and that is our refuel for the rest of the day.

In my very biased but accurate opinion...I think some of the best teachers can be found in low income schools...

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