It is no secret to the people who have known me longest that I fancy myself to be Anne of Green Gables. We both have large imaginations. We’re both idealistic to the point of naivete. We both have red hair (mine’s dyed) and button noses. We’re both teachers. There’s one other striking similarity, but I can’t tell you here, because it might reveal my identity to the creepy strangers of the internet.
Last Monday was my one-year anniversary at my school. Even though this school year is my first one as a full-time teacher, I was a long-term sub for a senior-level physics class last year. In my first days at my school, I was going through a real Anne of Green Gables craze, and so I was rereading the books. One quote from Anne of Avonlea stood out, and I’ve said it over to myself many times throughout the year:
“We always love best the people who need us.”
In the context of the book, and in the context of my life, too, it means that the bigger a mess somebody is, the more that person needs help and somebody to mother them, the more I love them. For as much as I can’t stand battling my students on basic classroom rules and procedures, it is not, surprisingly, my “good” students that I like best. No, my favorite students are the ones who find themselves somehow at the center of the chaos each day. The ones with hideous grades. The ones whose parents I’ve gotten to know pretty well because of how many phone calls home I’ve had to make.
I like them because they are the cute ones. They are the ones who make for the best stories when I get home at night. Even though I would think they’d hate me for making them conform to rules, they still go out of their way to say hi to me in the halls or at lunch. One of them even told me he’s going to bring me a belated birthday cake tomorrow (even though he’s such a scatterbrain that I’ll be surprised if he remembers it).
Speaking of cute:
On Thursdays, we have homeroom after first period. Some of the homeroom teachers organize the students to take turns bringing in snacks. One of my first-period students was in the back of the room, sitting quietly after he finished his test (but still waiting for the other kids to finish theirs). He signaled me to come back and see him, and when I got back there, I saw he had sugar all over his face and a half-eaten box of glazed donuts in his lap. He wanted to know if I wanted one. I asked him if those were supposed to be for homeroom, and he said they were. I told him that he should probably save those for his homeroom then, but he just smiled and shoved another donut in his mouth.
Tomorrow is another Monday, and truth be told, I don’t want to go to work. I don’t want to face more battles about raising hands, and not throwing papers, and staying on task. It’ll be these ones I love best making my day the toughest. Tomorrow I’ll want to send them all to the principal (I won’t actually do it), but tonight I’ll try just to focus on how they’re the ones who make this the most challenging job ever, but also the most fun.