It's been a rough school year. I won't go into details why - this isn't really the place for it. But know that when I say rough, it's really a euphemism for hellish.
And then. . .
Our classes went on a field trip today. It's my favorite trip of the year, this particular field trip. It's always such an eye opening experience for students and I love the change that it brings to class. Only one of my classes that has about 50 students in it had many not turn in their forms for one reason or another. I couldn't find subs for a half day, and I felt bad asking my already overworked and stressed co-workers to cover for me when my co-teacher and other chaperones were perfectly capable of handling the group. I wasn't going to be able to go on my favorite field trip.
And when word of this got out, within about ten minutes I had several incredible boys hunting down teachers that would be willing to take a few students into their room. One girl brought her mother in to see me and she said that she would be willing to substitute for me. I had several more emails over the next two days from parents telling me how sad their students were that I couldn't go and offering to substitute so I could go.
I don't know that I've ever been so touched in my life as I have been by my students this week. They are kind, well meaning individuals who have so much to offer. I am sometimes frustrated by them and by the silly mistakes they make, but I love them. And this week I found out that they love me too. When I told them I could go on the trip after all they cheered, while I - who rarely does so - wanted to cry. What a beautiful, beautiful gift to have right now. The knowledge that not only do I protect and stand up for my students, but that they protect and stand up for me.
I'm telling you, folks. Teaching is a crazy profession. I went into it so prepared and so naive. I was prepared to work and prepared to manage and prepared to plan. I was not prepared for the way these students would get under my skin and become small extensions of my family. I am blessed - so, so blessed - to have the students I do.