When I started teaching—and before I had my own children—I often referred to my students as “my kids” or “my kiddos.” I truly felt connected with them, and did my best to guide them onto their successes during the school year. When I became a mother for the first time, my equilibrium shifted. No longer were my students the sole focus of my day, and I slowly learned to prioritize my tasks. I needed to use my time more efficiently and with greater intention in order to arrive home and be completely present with my own children.
My life shifted again this year as the oldest of my three kids began kindergarten. For the first time, I found myself on the other side of the parent-teacher conference table. My grace, compassion, and understanding for the parents of my students grew as we struggled to balance homework, play, dinner, grading, and family time in our home. I have always chosen what homework I give carefully, but now I give homework with a greater intention—weighing heavily the impact that it will have upon my students’ free play and family time, which I feel is essential for a happy, well-rounded child.
Since having my own children, I no longer see my students as little people bopping around my classroom, but as someone’s precious child to be loved, cared for, listened to, and loved even more.
I want to cradle each little face in my hands, gaze into their eyes, and say the same words I whispered in each of my newborn’s ears:
“You are mine and I am yours.
I will push and encourage you until you achieve your every goal.
I will never give up on you.
No matter how unlovely you act,
no matter if you have given up on yourself.
You are mine and I am yours.
I will love you, care for you,
and will NEVER give up on you.”
When my students experience pain in their lives, every fiber in my being aches to take off my teacher badge and hat. To scoop them into my lap, squeeze them ever so tight, and whisper in their ear, “I am here. My heart aches for you. I will never give up on you.”
My students are more than just “my students.” For nine months of the year, they become my babies, my precious ones, my sweet children—they are mine to encourage, laugh with, learn with, and grow with.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing moms, both in and out of the classroom!