I started reading the new Harry Potter on Monday and that’s all I’ve basically done in my free time ever since. This is why I’ll never be physically fit–instead of exercising I listened to my daughter swimming 100 laps while I read.
I had to take our dog to the vet for walk-in hours and so I took my book with me. In a crowded waiting room, my kids will tell you there’s no way I would sit there and read because, well, it’s crowded with people and I enjoy talking to people more than I enjoy reading. Sure enough there was a young man, Dustin, who I remembered from Randolph, a woman who’s granddaughter, Courtney, just graduated from Gowanda, and a woman from Pine Valley where I taught for ten years who’s related to one of my teachers. Sometimes it really does seem like I know everyone and I truly enjoy talking to them, hearing how they’re doing, listening to them.
But my favorite part of the wait time was talking to two kids, a ninth grade girl and her eight year old brother. I had the cairn terrier as a draw but then they just sat and talked to me, open faced and open minded, look you right in the eye stuff and talk about dogs, school, becoming a veterinarian, video games. And then she saw the book. Her eyes lit up, she pointed and showed her mom, and we really got to talk then. Her passion for these Harry Potter stories and our shared interest was a terrific connection.
I drove home thinking about this profession of ours. How much I love that I have connections with people from three different school districts all made through working with kids. This is the most incredible and rewarding and brilliant profession in the universe–the opportunity to connect with kids and to care about them and to gain entrance into their minds and their hearts. It’s a sacred place to be, inside their heads and their hearts, and I treasure every moment. It’s those connections, gaining that trust to be allowed in, this is the secret to our success and I believe it with my whole heart.
I love this post…. you have the best attitude in the world toward teaching. I like that the ages you mentioned of the kids were a little younger. That is why in your new position even the Elementary kids will love you. It isn’t the age you work with that has made you successful it is your overwhelming love and excitement about your job. I think even young kids can pick up when someone honestly wants to talk to them and is really interested in them. You have that down!
Right on target, Kimberley!
Connecting with students is the name of the game. If a teacher can connect, then engagement for learning is almost automatic.
The bonus is the subsequent transfer of enthusiasm for school to the student’s own kids and that small glow of cheer you allow yourself to feel because you made a friend and opened doors to learning.
I just finished the Harry Potter book last night. I always feel a little guilty about the way that some books consume me, and my husband feels a little neglected. I would be the lady in the vet office with her nose glued to that book every moment I was there. I probably wouldn’t even hear about what is going on with my dog. 🙂