It’s no surprise that presidential campaigning has begun. It seems to start earlier and earlier each year, and we don’t even have an official Republican nominee yet.
One of my favorite parts of teaching is learning about my students – their ambitions, likes, habits…everything. During our unit on the Federal Government and in recent weeks, my students have become particularly vocal about how they would handle the affairs of the nation if they were to win the White House. I have recorded my favorite ideas for future posterity:
“I would have a big party and everybody would drink kool-aid.”
“If I were president, I would just print more money so we would all have what we want.”
“The first thing I would do is paint the White House black. Then it would be the Black House.”
“I would bring all our troops home, cause that’s probably why the rest of the world hates us.”
“I would definitely legalize marijuana.”
“If I was president, I would get rid of school. It doesn’t do any good anyway.”
I laugh on the outside, but secretly I hope that someday I’ll be watching their campaign ads on television. Maybe we will have kool-aid in the White House…
Last week a student asked if I was going to miss his class.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I said.
I have started and deleted this post approximately 13 times. I have at least a million things I want to say about teaching, my students, and education in America. Right now though I have this sick feeling in my stomach because it’s the end of the school year and I have to say goodbye to another incredible group of kids.
When I start each year, I don’t know anything about these people who enter my classroom to learn, and they have no reason to trust me. It’s amazing that after just 180 days, I can’t stand the thought of saying goodbye. There are so many things I want to say to “my” kids, and we’re running out of time together.
I want to tell them how excited I am each morning because I know I get to see them, talk to them, and teach them.
I want to tell them I’m sorry for the times when I lost my patience.
I want to tell them I think they’re hilarious.
I want to tell them how much cooler they are than I was when I was in the 8th grade.
I want to beg them to keep in touch, because I can’t stand the thought of not knowing the adults they turn into.
I want to tell them to keep their knees together and wait it out.
I want to tell them they’re right, sometimes school isn’t fair and I’m trying to fix that.
I want to tell them that some days they make me feel better.
I want to tell them not to forget me when they make it big in the NBA, because I came to all those middle school games.
I want to tell them to calm down.
I want to give them a big hug and tell them that everything will be ok.
I want them to know how proud I am of what they have accomplished.
I want to tell them to pay attention as November gets closer, because I taught them everything about elections and the electoral college.
I want to tell them I will miss them.
I want to tell them thank you for being who they are and making my job so worthwhile.
I became a teacher because I love what I teach; I kept teaching because I love who I teach. These students, these people have taught me more than I could ever hope to teach them. I am changed because of my experiences with them, and there are no words to describe this feeling I have at the end.
The student who asked if I would miss them smiled at my response. “We’re going to miss you too,” he said.
Totally worth it.