Ten Blogs Posts to Start the School Year: Why I Keep Teaching

This is not a paid advertisement. 
I love school supplies. All of them. New notebooks, pens, highlighters, glue sticks, dividers, little erasers, and colored pencils. I love all of that stuff, but what I love most of all are Sharpies. I love black ones and all the colors that have come out over the past few years. The thick ones are great, the regular-size, and the fine-tip. There is a job for all of these sizes, and I use them throughout every school year. They write so crisply, so cleanly. They don’t fade over time. I can watercolor over them, so they’re great for projects. They are bold and brilliant. And of all of these Sharpies, the Sharpies I love most are the metallic ones. They have gold and silver so I can write on colored notebooks or black surfaces and those Sharpies pop.

My students love them too. They really are the best for some of the projects we do, and I have all the cool colors and the thick and thin ones so my students ask to use them all the time. I say yes, but every year I have to buy new ones. Somehow these Sharpies manage to walk out of the room. The thing is, students aren’t supposed to have Sharpies on campus. Some kids tag with them, although these days my school doesn’t have any real taggers, so the stolen Sharpies probably head home in a backpack to be used on some future assignment, or for doodling, or for hawking autographs at some YouTuber’s event. Or, worst-case scenario, a student uses it to draw a penis in a bathroom stall somewhere. And the metallic ones? They are guaranteed to disappear.

Disappearing metallic Sharpies. 
But I keep letting my students use them and every year I keep buying them. Why? Well, they aren’t that expensive, and they make me happy, and they make my students happy, and you know what, my students deserve them. They deserve the good stuff. Their schools are dirty. The food we serve in the cafeteria is gross. Their class sizes are huge and they don’t get to have enough fun at school, in general.

My students are like those Sharpies. They are brilliant and resilient. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Every year they show up, ready to work. So, as long as I’m here, as long as I still love what I do, I’ll keep getting new Sharpies.

Some days the blinds feel like bars. 
Every once in a while, I feel trapped in my job. I think, maybe I should do something else, something that won’t leave me feeling so wrecked at the end of the day. But I can’t imagine how bored I would be at some office job or working around adults all day. So, I keep coming back. I'm reminded of what a wise former principal ones told me: You don't work for me, or the district. You work for these kids and their families. When I think of it like that, I have to keep going. I'm like a permanent marker that just won’t quit.

And the thing is, I love middle school. I love my middle school and my students and my school feeds me. This work energizes me, keeps me young, and demands I continue learning. Teaching brings me joy like a brand new pack of Sharpies, and it would break my heart to leave it behind.

~ This concludes my ten blog posts to start the year. Thanks for reading along, and hopefully, Geneal, I answered your questions. 


No comments:

Post a Comment