Saturday, May 30, 2009

First Day of Summer Vacation

Friday was our last day of school.  What a great feeling it was.  Sending off our 8th graders was very emotional for me.  Yes, I cried.  We lined all the 7th and 8th graders up and down the halls, while the 8th graders came down and we sang... na na na na na na na hey hey hey goodbye repeatedly.  I was pretty teary, but began to really cry when particular students passed me and stopped to hug me.  There were a couple that I have taught for the last 3 years.  They have grown and matured so much.  We have built solid relationships during those 3 years.  They would come to me when things were going on at home.  They just needed someone to listen.

One particular student I am very fond of.  From the start I was drawn to him in a mentor sort of way.  He has had a horrible childhood.  He struggles in school.  But, he is an outstanding athlete. He shines on the field in every sport.  For three years, I taught him.  We would have long talks about his childhood, his hopes and dreams, and what it was going to take to stay on the right track.  

At one point during the three years, I remember asking him what he was going to be after he graduated high school.  His response was..... Mrs. Dunlap... I am going to be a dealer.  You can make a lot of money selling drugs.  He then immediately began laughing and told me he was just kidding.  I was ready to strangle him.  Like many boys, his dream is to play football professionally.  I have always told him he would make it big one day but that he had to make the right choices in life.  I also added that he better remember me when he makes his millions.  

After the 8th graders exited the building I headed back to start putting things away for summer.  Another teacher had followed me and we ended up talking in my room.  The next thing I knew, this same student came running into my room, tears rolling down his cheeks.  He ran up to me and gave me the hugest bear hug and held on for dear life.  He sobbed and had his head on my shoulder and said he would never forget me and that he would come back and make me proud (okay, I am so starting to cry as I type this).  I told him that I worry about him all the time and that he must follow his dreams no matter what, and that I had better not hear that he is a daddy during high school.  We both laughed at that.  It was so very emotional.  It was then that I realized again, why I teach.

This year has been tough.  Teaching middle school is very difficult.  The students are at such a difficult time in their lives.  One day they love you, the next they can't stand you and many times they can't stand themselves.  This moment with this student solidified with me why I am teaching middle school and that I am where I belong.  

9 comments:

Carrie said...

Awwwww, wow, what an impact you left!!!

Beth said...

Niddle and in my case Junior High kids are awesome! I love teaching and mentoring and giving feedback to them... Have a great summer!

Beth said...

That is suppose to say Middle School in my previous comment,, I am using a laptop and not use to the keyboard lol

Anita said...

Gosh Misti, I teared up reading this! I think you are right, moments like that are confirmation you are doing the right thing. A teacher/mentor like you DOES make a difference in a child's life. Middle school is such a time of angst and transition, I'm so glad you can be there for those kids.
Have a wonderful summer!!!

Kelley Holiday said...

So GLAD you are there for those kiddos! Thank you for giving so much of yourself. You make a difference every day :-)

lkripp said...

Ok, that post almost made me want to become a teacher! How awesome to make such an impact!

Sarah said...

So sweet, Misti! You sound like an awesome teacher. It is great that you are able to have a positive impact in lives that might otherwise not have a good role model.

Melanie Mueller said...

That post made me cry. I am so glad you were reminded of what an awesome job you are doing. It almost made me miss it myself. =)

Rachelle T. said...

That's pretty neat. To know that you have an impact in others lives, great post.

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