I think they like me

Polar bear hugging a dog

From PhotoBucket.com

Since my past three posts have been about the stress that comes with being a first-year teacher, I thought I’d do a nice one.

One of the ::many:: surprises that has come with teaching is how much my students need me. Not all of them need me, but a significant number are actively seeking my approval, interest, affection, etc. It’s not in a “they come from bad homes and have no other positive adult role model” sort of thing (I don’t think)… It’s just that they really like me and want me to like them back.

This was a surprise for me for two reasons:

1) I can’t recall feeling this way toward my teachers as a kid. I certainly had my favorites, and I liked being teacher’s pet (which I was, since I had straight As), but I didn’t spend any time really trying to get to know my teachers or trying to make them know me. I never even realized that was an option.

2) I was never the popular kid in high school (I had a few close friends, but not a ton of pals), so I never expected to be a super popular teacher. I’m not saying I’m SUPER popular now, but I’m more well-known and well-liked than I thought I would be.

It’s been nice, though. I mean, who doesn’t like to be liked? I wish I would have realized earlier that this would happen though, because I would have made more of an effort to be available for the kids earlier in the year. Up until just recently, I’ve been thinking of them as little colleagues (even though I call them “my kids.”) I was nice to them like you would be to a colleague, but not really warm and friendly like you would be to your pseudo-child. It’s not a bad thing that I was a little reserved, but I wonder how many more awesome experiences I could have had with the kids if I’d warmed up earlier in the year.

That said, I wanted to share some of my most recent heart-melting moments:

1. I stand in the doorway of my classroom most days to shake the kids’ hands as they come in. There’s one student (not mine) who passes by in 8th period who goes out of his way to get a handshake on his way to whatever class he’s actually in.

2. There’s another kid who visits my class and the beginning and end of every 8th period, just because he likes the environment in my classroom. He doesn’t even know me, really. He just got a good vibe.

3. I was the first person one of my kids told when he got sponsored by Neff for his skateboarding competitions.

4. I was the first adult another one of my kids told when she realized she was pregnant. I made sure the school nurse got in touch with her to talk about health care. (Even though I know a baby is going to make things tough on this student, I’m SUPER excited to meet her kiddo when he/she comes.)

There’s more, but those are the ones from the past week or two. 🙂 It makes me smile to think about them. This. THIS is why I wanted to be a teacher.

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