Today was one of those days – I didn’t want to leave the house. At all. I wanted to hide from the world. I didn’t feel capable of dealing with myself, let alone other people. Not even the little people I love so much. I felt lost and didn’t want to be found.
The thing with kids is though: They always find you. And today, despite everything, it was even more important that they did.
The first thing I encountered when I turned round the corner was one of my boys, standing outside the classroom, fighting a hard battle against the jacket he was stuck in because he couldn’t get the zipper open. His face was red from trying to pull the jacket over his head, and he said he’d been doing that the entire time on the one hour bus ride to school and no one had been able to help him. Since in my short career as a teacher I’ve never failed to free kids from jackets, I managed to free him too (it took about 10 minutes).
If I hadn’t left the house this morning, who else would have been his hero of the day?
During the first five minute break, another boy was crying because he’d fallen on his knee. On the way to the nurse’s station, he sobbed: “It was my own fault! I was running! You always tell us not to run.“ I couldn’t believe my ears. This was the first time in over a year I ever heard this particular kid willingly take the blame for anything. I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.
If I hadn’t left the house this morning, and another teacher had been with him in that moment, would they have realized the significance of that statement?
During my kids’ gym class (that I don’t teach), shit really hit the fan between some kids of the class and one of our new kids, which resulted in a storm of tears and blame to come crashing through the classroom door afterwards. I abandoned the lesson I had planned and spent an hour having a long talk with the entire class about dealing with conflict, dealing with people who are having a difficult time and about being a group that needs to stick together like a family, in which excluding anyone or treating anyone badly is not even going to be an option from now on, like it hadn’t been an option in the past either. Not in the little universe that is our class.
If I hadn’t left the house this morning, who would have kept the flock together and reminded them of our values and who we are as a group?
After the kids were gone, I had a meeting with a parent who wanted to see me about something. At the end of our conversation he said: “My son thinks highly of you. What you say matters to him.“
If I hadn’t left the house this morning, I wouldn’t have gotten to hear those words. I would have missed out on all the incidents today that reassured me of the fact that me leaving the house each morning actually does make a difference.
As a teacher, I don’t even know what more to ask for.