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A teacher’s fodder

May 4, 2010

I absolutely love my job, but every once in a while, the thought crosses my mind, “What am I doing here?”  It enters my mind on days when attendance is low or students drop out, or when a student misses a scheduled tutoring session for which I’ve devoted time to preparing tip sheets and activities.  Why put so much of my effort into education here when a significant chunk of students don’t seem to care?  Wouldn’t my energy be spent better elsewhere?

But every day there’s a student who pulls my head and my heart back to CDKC.  Like the student who came to me last week with a tear forming in the corner of his eye, distraught because he has trouble studying at home, where everyone drinks alcohol and makes noise.  Or the student who walks five miles to school every morning if someone doesn’t pick him up along the highway.  Or the student whose husband left her for another woman but refuses to divorce her so that she can apply for government benefits as a single mother, which would help her support her children while she finishes her degree.  These students march on despite the armies of doubt and debt and ridicule in their paths.

Teacher’s feed on hope, and at CDKC, the students who rise above the myriad challenges facing them inspire so much hope and humility that I couldn’t imagine working elsewhere.  So what if every student doesn’t appreciate the efforts of CDKC’s faculty and staff?  There isn’t a single school in the nation where that’s true – there are always students who simply don’t care.  But if just one student out of every ten or twenty is able to learn and grow from my teaching, it gives me enough fuel to keep my fire burning, to keep me working to reach the rest. 

At CDKC, I am blessed with the opportunity to both utilize my talents and remember daily to be thankful for what I have and what I’ve been given, because it is a fortune compared to what my students have (or don’t have).  This combination – being useful and being grateful – engenders a great peace of mind that enables me to be content with my life.  I don’t covet, I don’t envy, I don’t dream of mansions or Mercedes’s; what I have is already more than enough.  I have a roof over my head, food on my table, people to love, and purpose.  I shall not and do not want.

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