Friday, September 21, 2012

Year 3: Week 3 – Since I've Been Gone

During my eight-day trip to Taiwan, I missed six school days: Wednesday to Wednesday. I came back to school Thursday still jet-lagged but excited to be back. Simply walking into the school building gave me energy to make it through the day.

 The kids didn’t seem to miss me or really care all that much about the fact that I was away.  When I was a kid, I don’t remember really thinking much about a teacher when he or she was gone, I was just excited that we would have a substitute and probably get to watch a movie. Honestly, I would prefer it that way. This means that student see the teacher as just that, a teacher and not a friend or buddy.

What I didn’t expect was how much I missed my fellow teachers and how great it would be to see them.

We are apart all summer, and we miss each other then but this was different. A school is more about the people than the building and when someone is gone during the year, the feeling of the school changes.

Being away when the year is going on for as long as I was is tough because you feel like you have a role and these people during this time are part of your life. You expect this, you rely on this and when this changes unexpectedly, it can be tough.

One thing that is comforting is that when I was away everything kept going without me. Yes, we are all important as teachers but we are all replaceable and while that’s sometimes a scary thought, it’s an important thing to keep in mind.

My school survived many years without me and it is going to go on many years after I leave. That’s a uplifting thought. It means that the things that I care about, the values, and the work I put in this school isn’t just for myself and for my current students, but it’s there for the generations.

When I realized that I would have to be away from my school after my grandmother died, I was worried about how things would go at school without me, but everything was fine.  It’s a reassuring thought knowing that if anything ever happened again that would make me be away from school, that I have don’t worry about it the way I did last week.

I feel like I’m starting the year all over again with my students. In the first week, I was barely able to establish classroom procedures but it’s okay. We’ll catch up and if we don’t, well it’s not the end of the world. It just means there’s one less song that we’ll get to.

One less song vs. feeling spiritually enriched from an important life experience, which made me a better person for myself and my students. 

Yeah, I think it's worth it.

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