Even though, at times, some of our students may be hard to love, on most days and in most classes, we love them regardless.
We love them not because they always listen, or because they necessarily work hard.
We love them not because they’re always well-behaved.
We love them because they are children who are still trying to figure out how the world works.
We love them because of how easily they smile and how quickly they laugh.
We love them because they reflect back to us what we have poured into them.
The hard work, the self-sacrifice, the creativity.
We love them for no other reason than by God’s providence they ended up in our classrooms.
We love them because that’s who we are as teachers.
We can’t help it.
We love them too much sometimes.
We would sacrifice every free, sane minute to save one of them.
We would show up after class, after school, at their house if we have to in order to get through to the one who has gone astray.
And when we fight the good fight, they don’t always say thank you.
The parents don’t always notice.
We sacrifice in secret.
We have to be careful because it can take its toll.
We have to have boundaries, have to take care of ourselves.
We are no good to them if we are too beleaguered to give them our best.
We have to remember to love ourselves too. Even when we fail. Even when we have no idea what we’re doing.
Even when it feels like we aren’t getting any love in return.
And then you see one of your students all grown up walking down the sidewalk.
She smiles when she sees you.
“Isabelle! Wow, you have gotten big. How are you?”
And it’s all worth it.