I dropped my son off for his first day of first grade last week and felt lots of emotions. I thought this year would be easier; after all, he’s done it before.
Becoming a parent showed me a different perspective of being a teacher. Before I had children, I saw my students every day, a class of 25 or so teen boys and girls. They were still children trying to learn how to grow and get along and be adults. When I became a mother though, I realized something, and it’s so simple: every single kid in my class, the rowdy 17-year-old boys and the chatty 16-year-old girls, was someone’s baby. My students were not grades in the grade book, names on an essay, or numbers on a report; they were someone’s child, someone’s pride and joy, and each of them meant the world to someone.
It seems silly, but this realization changed the way I taught my students. As educators, we have a tremendous responsibility. We are not just teachers. We play a significant role in raising up other people’s children. Though our primary responsibility is not parenting our students, we frequently have to in order to raise them into adults.
I left teaching two years ago to become an instructional coach. I had had a tough class my last year teaching, and I needed support. That’s why I left the classroom: I wanted to support teachers. I believe in the power of empowering teachers. I know in my first years of teaching, for my lack of experience, that I could have done better by some of my students. Like most, though, I learned and grew along the way. Eventually, I learned that the most important thing I could do was establish healthy relationships with my students and be a positive support person in their lives. I learned to see my students as someone’s child and to love them dearly, and that allowed me to teach them well.
My hope is that my son’s first-grade teacher sees my son as I see him and she loves him. I hope that she feels empowered to do what’s best for him and his peers - always. This is my hope for all teachers and the students they are entrusted with. This is the driving force behind my work today: empowering teachers to serve their students well.