I don’t teach math. Or writing. Or reading. Or any other subjects.
I teach kids. Wonderful, amazing, delicate, stubborn, fearful, awe-filled, rambunctious, impetuous, enigmatic, kids.
They come into my classroom, where we explore, discover, celebrate, struggle, and hopefully connect. Then, in the blink of an eye, they move on.
As each year concludes, I write to them, with the reminder that I am always their teacher; always their friend.
At least that is my earnest desire. More than anything else, I hope to connect with each child. To be a voice in their life that lets them know – you’re special. You have a voice. You’re wonderfully unique.You matter. You’re whole.
But in truth, there are times I don’t get that message across. Maybe they’re not ready to hear it. Maybe I lack the perseverance to get past the social or emotional obstacles. Perhaps I’m not patient enough. Or compassionate enough. Or vulnerable. Or relatable.
Sometimes, despite my best efforts, I just don’t connect.
I just don’t get them. Or vice-versa. We connect like a square peg in a round hole.
They dance to their own music. They move to their own beat. They’re not just out-of-the-box thinkers, but they are out-of-the-trapezoid thinkers.
I’ve had my share off students like this. And some left my rooms without me seemingly ever getting through to them. We didn’t gel. We didn’t jive. We didn’t connect.
I took those losses hard. They were personal. I was saddened by the lack of connection. I questioned my calling. I doubted my talents. I grieved the missed opportunity.
But I’ve come to the conclusion that even if I don”t “get” them, I can enjoy them. I can embrace their uniqueness. I can celebrate their talents. I can be in awe of their beautiful mind. I can accept that they are whole.