As educators, by the time the last comma splice is marked, the last grade entered, and the last form filled, sometimes we forget that we were excited for the first day of class, to see what glories the semester would hold.
When we get the 5 millionth email telling us that we are unfair, asking us how to pass without completing any assignments, or telling us what grade the student deserves based on their desires rather than their work, sometimes we forget that we got into teaching because we love learning and helping others learn.
When we find ourselves squabbling, defensive, or feel all alone in our professional frustrations, sometimes we forget that teachers are part of community.
With the pay cuts, benefit cuts, freedom cuts, and emotional cuts, sometimes we forget why we got into this profession to begin with.
But sometimes . . .
That student who has been struggling all semester finally gets it right.
We get that email from a student thanking us for challenging them, even if they haven’t taken our class in three years.
Across the hall might be a friend to share ideas with, who won’t judge when we mess up, will listen when we need it, and remind us we are not alone; that colleague who becomes a friend to nerd-out over the same things with, and laugh with until we have tears of joy instead of frustration.
That student sitting two rows back, who seemed so quiet at first, almost lost, comes into their own. We watch them grow and blossom, in the most remarkable way, and we can’t help but feel pride. We come to find that when we thought we were just talking to the wind, they were listening, absorbing and that somehow, we made a difference. And we might just let our guards down, push away the cynicism, and allow ourselves to be changed by the simple beauty of watching a person become a better version of themselves. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, they become the teachers and it is us that are changed.
Sometimes we forget what it is to feel hope, compassion, humor, and joy. Not just in our jobs, but in life–in who we are.
Sometimes we forget.
And they remind us.