Saturday, January 3, 2015
As the new year begins and the second half of my tenth year of teaching is just days away, I have some sad news to share. I usually do not post sad or even personal information on my blog, but felt moved to share this story. After teaching 9 1/2 years, I have taught somewhere around 250 students. Each one has come into my classroom and while I have tried to teach each child, they all have things that they have taught me as a person and as a teacher.
I feel that as teachers, we know that some students leave a larger imprint on our lives, more so than others. They are the students that even after 9 years you know their first and last name, you can quote them verbatim, remember their mannerisms, see the faces they would make, and hear their voice.
Just before Christmas I heard that one of my former students was in the hospital. He had been sick at the beginning of December before an unexpected downward spiral. This past Tuesday, Ryan passed away.
Ryan, was an amazing little boy. I had him for first grade during the 2007-2008 school year. It was my third year teaching. He was bright, funny, sweet, and loving. He LOVED cars and trains. With a train track near our school, he could hear the train whistle even when no one else could. I can still hear him singing "We Are the Champions" all the way to our field trip that year. I can remember the hugs that he gave me in the hall after he moved on to second grade. I remember his sad voice when he got upset about things that frustrated him.
As much as I loved Ryan, working with him wasn't always easy. But, I realize that so many students who challenge us are the most memorable students. Those were the ones placed in my classroom for a greater purpose than simply to learn academics. Those are the kiddos that teach me and his/her classmates about all aspects of life. Ryan taught me a LOT that year. I know for sure that he taught me to be a better teacher.
I urge you, as you head back to school after hopefully a restful winter break, to look closely at each child in your classroom. Even on the hard days, remember that each one is in YOUR room for a special reason. Cherish each little kiddo that steps foot in your room and know that they may just be there for a special purpose.
While I can't be in North Carolina today my thoughts are with Ryan's family and the community in which I used to teach.