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January 12, 2013

This Is Why I Teach

I will be the first to admit that before I had my own children, I was a tough teacher. I fought every battle with my students and their parents. I held my students to an incredibly high (perhaps unrealistic) standard. I was even accused of being a "non nurturer." Then, I had Princess A and Deedle. They completely changed the way I teach. As difficult as is it can be sometimes (and you all know what I'm talking about!), I look for a lovable quality in each of my students; I try to be a role model, but also a maternal figure (some of my students don't have that in their lives). I cultivate personal relationships with my children; I try to find out what interests and motivates them. When a situation arises with a parent, I think about how I, as a parent, would want the issue to be addressed. Princess A and Deedle have not only made me a better teacher, but a better person.

I had one of those this-is-why-I-teach moments yesterday. I have a student in my class this year who is a wonderful little boy, but he just isn't the affectionate type. He is not a hugger, nor does he tell me that he loves me every five minutes (like so many of my little firsties do). He is a hard worker, and he is very driven to perform well in school. But I feel like I've been missing a personal connection with him, no matter how hard I've tried to find one. The students were playing math games yesterday afternoon, and I took a quick break from playing with them to put some papers in the children's mailboxes. All of a sudden, I felt a little body barrel into me, and I looked down to find my sweet-yet-serious non-hugger with his arms wrapped tightly around my waist. At first, I thought he was upset and crying, so I pulled back a bit and asked him if he was OK. He replied, "Yes, Mrs. Shafer. I just love you so much!" I was so surprised that tears came to my eyes, and I hugged him right back. He made my day. Heck, he made my week!

I'll post later about writing process posters that I created, but right now, I have beds to make and a house to clean! Gotta love Saturdays.

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