When I became a mom, I really understood what it felt like to look out at my students and know that behind each face were parents who knew that I held their child’s well being in my hands. Not only did it feel like an honor to know I could have such a great impact on a student’s life, I also knew the weight I carried.
For the majority of school-aged children, parents entrust us not only to educate their offspring, but to also provide a safe environment. That’s huge. And the scope of this has unfortunately come to light.
And in light of Friday’s tragic events, my heart keeps coming back to this weight. It’s very heavy now. Heavier than I’ve ever known.
I have a huge responsibility as an educator that goes way beyond trying to get students to meet standards.
I often tell my struggling reading students that I’m hard on them because I care. Because I want them to know that if they work hard and don’t give up, that a bright future can be theirs. Some students don’t like me because of this. I tell them I’m not there to be a friend. I’m there to help them learn and support them, and if they like me, well that’s a bonus. Because really, I’m teaching them life lessons along the way, and those are sometimes the hardest ones for adolescents to learn.
I think I have this outlook because it’s the mom in me. It’s the parent in me.
My role as educator goes way deeper than I ever imagined when I first thought I’d like to become a teacher. It’s that heavy feeling again.
I hope parents will discern this as they send their students back to school on Monday. As teachers, so many of us truly get the responsibility we have. So many of us truly get the huge trust parents place on us. We carry this weight not only for ourselves and our own families, but also for the parents of each of our students.
As time passes, this weight may lighten a bit. But it will always be there and I hope students and parents alike will continue to know this in their hearts.