“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

This is my first attempt at semi regular writing or blogging…let’s see if I can keep this up for a month. Not sure of the frequency I’ll do it but here we go.

The above quote comes for a calendar someone very close to me gave. My interpretation of what Eleanor Roosevelt says is derived from my own personal interactions with students. That is, some of the children I cherish the most are the ones who have needed the most help. In regards to lesson or materials presented to them, they may not have even succeeded at a task another teacher or I have given them but they tried. My professional goal has been to get all my children to learn skill sets to attack material and claim mastery. However, my personal goal has been to teach them a skill set that all kids should have, That is, I try my best to design lessons or instructions for that kid who feels so lost that they already have their head down on the desk even before they enter the room.

I think every teacher has encountered that kid who sucks at the materials you present; their answers are almost always wrong and you argue with yourself if you want to call on them. But then you do. Why? Because you know they want to understand- they care about their grade and even more, they want to know the material. They are an example if the imperfect student. Bad grades, but good attitude. The imperfect student is the one that you double check their tests of re-read their essays to find points. You feel good when they get a 75, and offer extra credit. You give them an extension on homework they forgot.

A few years ago, I had my students write an essay on “a time when they were happy even when others wouldn’t understand it.” The resulting poems and essays are very dear to me; I could never toss them. There is an essay that one student wrote that was so hopeful and about perseverance that I still teary-eyed reading it. This student had a rough life, but he could see himself and his family coming out of it. What affected me even more personally was that while reading his essay I could envision him making revisions and taking to heart and mind what I said about writing. I could see his first, second and third drafts. The final essay by no means was perfect, but it was damn near close. On a whole that entire 5th period class did.

I teach for those kids and to inspire kids to become them. Those kind of kids always came with a pencil or pencil or asked for one before class started. They groaned over the homework but did as much of it that they could. The kids in that class are the kids I try to work for and work with. They may or may not know that they can’t excel at everything but that doesn’t mean they won’t try.

Those are the kids who appreciate school and love life. Those are the kids I look forward to seeing 5 years from now and smile when they tell me where they are going to college, even if it’s local or community. Those are the kids who know sometimes you got to work at your dreams. Whenever I meet them, and get to know them, I find myself happy that they challenge me to be a better teacher.

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