Blessed to Be a Teacher
By Margaret Williams
I woke up this morning at five and I thought to myself, “It’s time to get up.” Then, a flash of another thought ran through my mind. “No. You do not have to get up. You’re retired. Go back to sleep.” I cried silently.
This is the first day of school for my students and I will not be there, after 38 1/2 years of teaching. I will not help a puzzled freshman find his classroom on the opposite side of our building. I will not get hugs from my former students who are so full of energy and looking forward to their SENIOR year! This year, I have not prepared my room to give my students some things to think about as their young, open, busy, and gifted minds wander from time to time during class.
I will miss all of the wonderful, caring, and smart teachers who so graciously shared their ideas, materials, laughs, stories, and food with me. I will miss the much younger teachers who rush up and ask for books, supplies, or some kind of support from me, their Instructional Team Leader.
I will not have the rush of nervousness during the first few seconds of that first class that goes away shortly after I say something like, “Good morning! I am Mrs. Margaret Williams and I am so happy to have you, each one of you in my class. We are in an awesome school with awesome students and it is a blessing to be your teacher….”
As I turned off my light (set on a timer) to return to bed on my first morning of retirement, a warm, pleasant feeling came over me. I was thinking about my opening statement to my classes when I said that I was blessed to be their teacher. I said to myself, “You are blessed to be a teacher who is now blessed to be able to retire and work at a more relaxed pace. You can do new and special things for students and for teachers that time would not allow while you worked. No more planning, debates, meetings after meetings. No more grading papers and doing all the other work until June.”
With my eyes closed and a smile on my face, I was about to return to sleep when I thought, “By helping my colleagues with their field trips, college prep activities, maybe helping new teachers and continuing to coach the Mock Trial Team, I am still blessed to be a teacher… just retired.”
Being a teacher is a blessing, and an awesome responsibility. As I began to doze off, I remembered one of my students
who came back to see me ten years after he was in my class. He told me how I had inadvertently changed his life with a few words of advice which at first I didn’t even remember giving him.
Ricky often gazed out the window during one of my ninth-grade United States history classes early in my teaching career. He was quiet, and his good grades and mild manner were why I did not move him away from the seat by the window.
One day, I leaned over his shoulder and quietly asked, “What are you looking at? You gaze out of this window during every class.”
He said, “I am looking at the band.”
According to Ricky, I said, “If you like the band so much that you have to look at them during this class every day, I want you to go down to Mr. Overby (the band teacher/director) and tell him that I sent you. Tell him that you want to be in the band. Now turn around and finish working before the bell rings.”
The next day Ricky went to Mr. Overby and told him that I had sent him and that he wanted to be in the band. He added that he did not know how to play any instrument.
When Ricky visited me ten years later, he thanked me for telling him to go to Mr.
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Blessed to be a teacher