Jules is wise beyond his years. His students are so lucky to learn and grow up with someone as hard working, thoughtful, honest, funny, and inspiring. I wanted to take us back to where it all started…the classroom. We all grew up in these rooms and hallways. Little did we know how much of an impression these teachers would make on our lives in the future. Have you ever looked back at your teachers and thought how they helped to mold you? I have so many amazing teachers to thank for inspiring and encouraging me to where I am today. Thank you Jules for sharing a glimpse into your life on Working Wednesday, hopefully this helps to remind us where it all began and how important teachers are in all our lives. Boy do teachers have one challenging career. They absolutely don’t get enough credit for the over-time they invest, all because of their passion for helping kids today become our future leaders and CEO’s.
Jules: “To Teach is to…
This past year I have been blessed and fortunate enough to experience many of life’s great milestones. With a career, a man, a house, and of course a pair of puppies; I have established permanent residence on cloud nine. With life moving at a cosmic pace, I rarely had the chance to stop, absorb, and reflect on all these aspects of my life. One night, my husband and I were sitting through a presentation about putting solar panels on our house. While we were both excited at the thought of a lower energy bill, we were also captivated by the passion and excitement of the sales representative. She truly lived and breathed the product and preached the impact it would have on us and the world around us. I became lost in her passion, then she made this statement, “I just love my job! I mean how many people can say they go to work every day to make the world a better place?”
My journey as a teacher began about 3 years ago and it continues to be a rollercoaster full of heights, drops, flips, twists and turns. I have the privilege to work in a community located just outside a major Mid-Atlantic city with an amazing staff of teachers. I use the word privilege specifically for a reason, these students have experienced more life in their 9 years than most do in a lifetime; yet they don’t even realize it. I learn from my students each and every day and they are constantly changing my view of this wild world we live in. Violence, drugs, mental illness, and poverty plague the lives of my students, my kids; yet they somehow make it into my classroom to learn each day. For most, I see them for more time each day than their own families do. If I had a nickel for every time I was called Mom, I could vacation every weekend in the Bahamas. Most of the time, I feel like their mother or father as I teach them things far beyond the scope of my curriculum. There’s a common saying that “To Teach is to touch a Life Forever,” but I question whose life is really being touched?
A typical day in my life begins around 5:00 AM as my alarm goes off, and I drag myself into the shower. My hair is fixed, teeth brushed, and khakis are put on long before my husband even considers opening an eye. In the darkness, I let out my four-legged friends, and steal a kiss before heading out the door. On the way to school, a stop at Dunkin Donuts is absolutely mandatory- for every good day starts with it. Arriving at school by 6:30, I stroll through the halls with fellow teachers who also brave this early hour. Strapped with an oversized teacher bag and a packed lunch, we are ready for battle. For the next 2 hours, the race has begun and we are planning, creating, and copying to prepare for the day. A typical day consists of about 5 whole group lessons; math, reading, science, writing, phonics; with an additional 4 small groups to plan for and prepare. Anyone who thinks this part sounds easy can gladly take over my classroom for the day.
The real fun begins at 8:25, the bell rings and the scene of a WWE Royal Rumble that is currently taking place on the front lawn is now making its way through the halls and into my classroom. Armed with my clipboard, a pen, and a smile; I am ready, or so I think. My kids arrive with their own baggage of the day; loss, depression, anxiety, frustrations, or insomnia. The baggage is unpacked and I pick up the pieces as best I can. Offering a breakfast, a pillow to lay a head on, or just an ear to listen. Throughout the day, I am my own one-man-show; motivating, directing, and managing a room full of 25 little bodies. 25 minds. 25 spirits. 25 hearts. My 25 kids. We laugh, smile, sometimes cry, but most importantly we grow.
In stories we travel to distant places In numbers we find meaning and understanding In writing we express our thoughts and ideas.
By mid-day, complete with a full bladder, I enjoy a 30 minute lunch with my teammates followed by our favorite part of the day, recess. Recess is the time of day for students to let loose, and fully be themselves. With their classmates, they play games, build friendships, and test their limits on the monkey bars. Then I have an hour long planning period; where on some days I just sit in silence. A moment of solidarity and peace, a moment to collect your thoughts, answer e-mails or communicate with parents. After a long day, I take my students outside and wave goodbye as they walk home. While they may leave my sight, my kids never leave my mind. For some I wonder whether they are safe, fed, or even cared for.
Wherever life’s path may take the lives of my kids; to the next grade, another school, another state- I can never forget the impact they have had on me. I could tell a quick story, do a short impression, or laugh at a joke they told anytime they cross my mind. I had always dreamed of being a teacher, and each night I go to bed hoping that God will give me the chance to do it all over again. Teaching gives me the platform to alter the course of a child’s life. Teaching allows for me to help foster the creativity in a student who doesn’t see it in themselves. Teaching allows for each day to be unpredictable, eventful, and exciting experience.
To teach is to touch a life forever...mine.
Who gets to go to work every day trying to better the future of our world? I do.