To be honest I have been in a funk lately. The kids I teach this year have touched my heart in so many ways but that has come with its own consequences. I have been too focused on what I haven’t and may not be able to do for these kids. I cannot fix their home situations. I cannot fix the things their young eyes have already seen and the problems they have dealt with. I cannot fix years of bad school and math experiences that have left them hating school, math, and themselves. I cannot fix the fact that some of them feel unloved, unwanted, and unimportant. All of that and more has left me feeling ineffective and overwhelmed by the challenges that face these kids and myself as I spend the rest of the year with them. My lesson first hour today totally fell apart in so many ways and I ended the class frustrated and ready to give up. But then 2nd hour started , I adjusted, we moved on and I realized that just like I tell the kids I have to stop focusing on what I can’t do and start focusing on what I can.
I can greet these kids with a smile and a kind word everyday knowing that it may be the only one they hear all day. I can give them an hour a day of a positive math experience for 177 days this year. I can praise them for the little things they do right instead of only mentioning the big things they may do wrong. I can cry with them when their parents have had a fight or they just found out they have to move because their family can no longer pay the rent. I can send food home with them over long breaks because I know their cupboards are empty. I can make sure that everyday they feel loved, cared for, and safe when they are with me. I can be their cheerleader, their biggest fan, their advocate, and their safe place.
And for me they can continue to me my motivation and inspiration to never stop trying to change the world.