The joy of teaching: you never run out of kids

I procrastinated turning in my daughter's senior tribute ad for the annual. I think that I somehow felt like that if I didn't turn in the ad that somehow my daughter really wasn't graduating. That it really wasn't happening. She got her acceptance to Georgia Tech on January 4 and will be starting in June.

“I'm ready, Mom, I need to start NOW.”

she says as she expresses how ready she is to get out of our small town.

If only I was that ready. I'm not. I'm still stinging from my son leaving last June to go be a Ramblin' Wreck too and now this? If I'm not careful and keep perspective, I could be the wreck.

Of course my youngest son is still at home, now in sixth grade and yet, it makes me realize that my daughter was in sixth grade yesterday. I swear it was yesterday!!  Time, this thing that creeps by like a slug when you're a kid goes by like a blast of air through a subway vent when you get older. Where did it go?

I didn't want to turn in my daughter's senior tribute but made myself anyway. How could it be time for my daughter to graduate? I'm so glad I'm a teacher - my life is bigger and my heart is too. I love these kids (especially my own!) Where did the time go?

I didn't want to turn in my daughter's senior tribute but made myself anyway. How could it be time for my daughter to graduate? I'm so glad I'm a teacher – my life is bigger and my heart is too. I love these kids (especially my own!) Where did the time go?

I placed the ad on Betsy's desk and turned around with a sniff and a big tear that dropped onto the floor and realized that this really is happening. Two thirds of my nest will soon have flown the coop.

And yet, there's more. Early this year I had put pictures of when my children were very young kids around the house. It was just too sad. I took them down and decided to get in the moment and enjoy NOW. Yesterday was awesome but today is awesome-er.  These relationships change and I've still got a lot to contribute to the world. In some ways, less with my own kids frees me up to be more Mom to my students because really I feel like I have over 100 children.

 

My other “kids”

Today one of my “kids” came by my room – he's got a job and moved back to Camilla and is in love with his girlfriend – if I hang around here another 18 years I may just be teaching his child, I guess. Three of my first class of eighth graders are getting married in the next six months. I love that they come back to me and let me know what they're doing. They love me enough to want to tell me how it is going and to tell me how they are the fastest typist at work, or how something I taught them gave them an edge.

I just sat down with one who wants to go to art school and we're researching what to do in her portfolio. She's mine. They're all mine and yet this is what is so awesome about kids — they'll share themselves with just about anyone who cares, respects them, and loves them (in a non-creepy way, of course.) ;-)

Life is so short but there's one thing I've learned by being a teacher — life gets bigger the more kids you cram into it. They are alive and they stuff every cranny of who you are with a whirlwind of life, love, loss and laughter. It's nuts. It's crazy. It's full. But it is one thing… it is totally beautiful, wonderful and amazing. I love my own kids with all my heart and I love my students as my kids too. If you want to have a wonderful life… teach. It is crazy but it is so worth it.

My heart is full and overjoyed even as my eyes fill with tears. My daughter is ready and I will be when it is time but one thing is for sure – as long as I'm a teacher, I'll never run out of kids.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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7 comments

Lisa Durff January 10, 2014 - 12:28 pm

Time is going too fast! I see this everyday with Nik ~ just yesterday he was learning to walk…………….

Dean January 11, 2014 - 9:07 am

This article really touched my heart…and I really needed it! It is such a positive and inspirational piece. One part that really connected with me is how you had pictures of your children when they were young all around the house and it tended to make you sad…not the opposite. Then you changed them into the present. I am taking that advice from you as I feel exactly the same way! You are right, our “kids” at school and at home are what make our lives complete. That is what it is all about. Thanks for the motivation. Cheers,Dean

coolcatteacher January 13, 2014 - 10:08 am

Thanks, Dean. It is find to reminisce but there is a fine line between enjoying memories and trying to live in the past. I want to live in the present and it sounds like you do too. G

ood luck living in the now and smiling on the then and thanks for commenting — so many people read comments but so few are willing to put themselves out there. As for me, I love to read comments as they reinforce important things that need to be said – especially when we talk about teaching.

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*Vicki A. Davis @coolcatteacher * Author, *Reinventing Writing *(2014) and *Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds*
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Dean January 14, 2014 - 5:02 am

Thanks Vicki. Have a great week at school! Dean

loonyhiker January 17, 2014 - 9:50 am

I remember crying when my baby turned 13! It was more traumatic for me than her. LOL Now she is married with children but I still see her as my “baby.” But our other “kids” still fill my heart with love. Many of mine have children who are now in high school. I’m so thankful that some students from 30 years ago still stay in touch with me and still share their successes with me. I have always told them that once I became their teacher, they became my “family!”

coolcatteacher January 17, 2014 - 9:53 am

I love that, Pat! I may use that one!Vicki Davis
@coolcatteacher

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere