Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Teaching: My Love/Hate Relationship

If anyone knows me they know I have a love/hate relationship with being a teacher.

99% of me loves teaching and the time I have with my "kids" in our classroom but the other 1% that has nothing to do with my students or the teaching side HATES teaching. My past two years in South Carolina were a rollercoaster ride in the classroom, with way more ups than downs, that ended rather abruptly with the packing up my life and move to the Caribbean with the Peace Corps.

I left Greenville Public Schools feeling disheartened about teaching and ready for a BIG career change. The dark side (aka interim Principals) of teaching had drained me. I was exhausted. I had often said I felt like Shel Silverstein's Giving Tree, always giving and never receiving. Little did I know that I wasn't allowing myself to be open to receive or be recognized. Or even realizing that I was receiving just as much back as I was giving. It was almost as if I had been going through the last months of school and life with blinders on.

Fast forward to today, four months after I said goodbye to Greer Middle and it turns out one of my "kids" from last year had been trying to contact me. By chance, I clicked on my "other" inbox on Facebook and saw a message from one of my students sent this past Monday. She wrote, "Hi Ms. Lyons, THANK U THANK U THANK U for nominating me for that junior leader conference thank u ur the best I'm glad I had u as a teacher." I had forgotten that I nominated several of my students, many who day in and day out do their best but often get ignored, for a leadership conference last spring and it was great to see that they were happy to be recognized! When I was employed at GCS I would have felt strange replying back to the student on Facebook due to concerns over crossing some arbitrary line between student and teacher but since I'm far away I felt like I could act as a human. Back in the day I probably would have corrected her punctuation and grammar too but instead I responded, "Anytime sweetheart! You're a great kid and smartie pants too! Keep up the good work in 7th grade, I'm proud of you!"

It's these small things that make all the hard work for both myself and my students over the past two years worth it. I miss you Greer Middle: my students and fellow teachers. I wish you nothing but the best :)

Lesson learned: Be open to receiving thanks and love. Sometimes we are blind to the love others are trying to show us or it gets stuck in our "other" inbox. Gratitude and showing others love/kindness/friendship is really what life is all about. So thanks kid for teaching me something today, I am REALLY REALLY REALLY proud of U!

Also shoutout to all the teachers I've been blessed to know as friends, neighbors, family, travel buddies, co-workers, and those I have yet to meet. Y'all are the BEST. I saw a post from one of my EC87 fellow volunteers about The Flat Stanley Project and it stirred up memories of when I did this as a kid in elementary school. I loved it then and thought it would be the best way to achieve the 2nd and 3rd goal of the Peace Corps while promoting literacy skills at my school. Within an hour my tiny school was connected to entire classrooms and schools in NJ, NC, SC, CT, and KY! Teachers I am also REALLY REALLY REALLY proud of U! THANK U THANK U THANK U!

My last day as 27 definitely ended on a high note. 

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