My post this week is supposed to be the email I wrote to our new state superintendent, Richard Woods. I know all of you have been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for this, but you will have to wait for another week because it’s Valentine’s Week. My husband is already prepping me for the day by reminding me that “it’s Valentine’s day 365 days a year at the Barber house” which means I will be cooking and grading essays this Saturday. In the spirit of love, #Loveteaching, a social media campaign, is asking teachers to share why we love what we do, so here’s my contribution.
When I first thought about why I love teaching, my mind immediately went to a scene from Sleepless in Seattle (yes, this is how my mind works; pray for my students). Sam Baldwin (aka Tom Hanks) is helping his son Jonah remember his mom who had recently died. Sam says, “She could peel an apple in one long, curly strip. The whole apple.” This sums up perfectly how I feel when I try to explain why I love teaching: I love all of the little things and how they add together to make something greater than the sum of its parts.
I love that our student body voted two special needs students for homecoming king and queen this year.
I love that when my 2nd block took a year end picture, one boy felt compelled to turn around, bend over, and look through his legs.
I love that when one of my shy students told our class that his dad had come home from Afghanistan over the weekend, they stood and applauded.
I loved that almost my entire AP class drove an hour to go to a funeral for one of their classmate’s mother.
I love that the class of 2014 would hashtag #theBarb in their tweets.
I love that one student drew a ninja on every exam and told me how the ninja distracted him from studying properly.
I love that when I asked my seniors to write a letter to themselves which I will mail to them in 5 years, one kid put a $20 in it.
I love that my bulletin board is full of acceptance letters from dream colleges.
I love that one kid put #helpme on her works cited page.
I love that one student asked a girl to the prom by having me write out his request on a grammar test.
I love that one kid wrote “dang, thought that said corn hole and got excited” in his Pride and Prejudice annotations.
I love that when I asked “what confuses you about poetry” during a quick out-the-door check, one kid answered, “why Robert Frost is so popular.”
I love that my classes write on the board words they hate, class pet ideas, and football score predictions.
I love that when I passed out a test once, a girl said, “Jesus, take the wheel.”
The list could go on and on, but the bottom line is I can’t put my finger on what I love about being a teacher. The thought of being one small part of helping a student get from point A to point B whether in academic or character growth or in maturity in general excites me. The love of teaching keeps me up at night, gets me up in the morning, and is the cause for many Sunday afternoon naps. Here’s to many more years of loving teaching.