“That is the job that women have, whether we have ever given birth or not; to be a mother to the whole world. God knows the world needs us.” Simcha Fisher
The book club I belong to is reading Style, Sex, & Substance. 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter edited by Hallie Lord. Great book! I highly recommend it. One of the writers happens to be one of my favorite Catholic writers, Simcha Fisher. You can find her blog on National Catholic Register online. She has nine, yes nine, children and writes hilarious blogs about her life as a Catholic mom. There are times when I have laughed so hard at her writings that I have peed my pants (which at this point, after having my own brood of kids and being “old-ish” is kinda normal haha). She rocks, check her out.
I am reading her chapter in the book on motherhood and being creative and as soon as I read this quote (the one above ^) I thought, “That is how I feel when I am teaching. They are my kids.” Even if I only ‘have’ those kids for a short period of time each day, they are my kids and I can make an impact and influence their lives.
Yesterday I was called to sub at the high school in an English class (YAY!). For one of the classes the teacher wanted me to show the movie The Crucible. Cool. Fine. But how do I set up the TV/dvd player? So I asked a fellow English teacher and as she was helping me figure it out a student came up behind me and put his arms around me. I turned around and it was a student I used to “hang out” with in a Freshman science class three years ago. I will call him ‘Sam.’ He said to me, “Mrs. Richardson! I miss you!” which of course made my day (LOVE THAT!!!). But it made me think of what my first impression was of him three years ago.
I was a Para educator back then, second term had just started and a new student was sitting in the front row of science class where I was an aide. Then I saw “them.” Gauges. UGH. ICK. I cannot stand looking at people with gauges, especially the big ones. Their ears all pulled taut and looking red and those HOLES! GAPING HOLES. Sure I have my ears pierced, but this is different. This is like a gaping wound without the blood. It disturbs me. A lot. I literally physically shudder when I see a kid with them. It grosses me out. And when they take out the ‘jewelry’ and have their ear lobes just hanging like sad rubber bands… AAAAHHHHH! It freaks me out! So there’s a new kid and I already have my bias against him. And I think, how could his mother let him do that?
…And then I think of my mother and think who I was (a pain in the butt) not so long ago when I was in high school and college. I was the weirdo punk rock chic with the purple Mohawk and the cool sneer. I am sure people thought the same about me. And yes, I was called all sorts of names for being that “weirdo.”
It always seems that God puts people in my life to shake me up a bit, and so that I see them and life in a new and different light. There have been people I do not like at first that have become great friends. And students who were difficult who have become a sort of friend or have made an impression on my life. Don’t judge a book by its cover. So again …God placed a strange young man in my life… as the school year progressed I wound up chatting with Sam about everything, from his gauges, his parents, music, school and religion (he hid a bible from me once thinking I wouldn’t think he was cool! Ha! He didn’t know how ‘into’ my faith I was! I told him, “Never be ashamed of your faith!”). I got to know him really well; he was a great kid, gauges and all.
I have had several students tell me, “You are my favorite teacher!” (even when I wasn’t a teacher). At the beginning of the school year I ran into “tough” kid I used to chat with in resource last year. He thought I was ‘cool.’ When he saw me he stopped short with an angry look on his face and said, “Mrs. Richardson! Why aren’t you in any of my classes? I miss you!” I had to explain I was student teaching and was no longer a Para. He then swore (which I am used to with these kids) and walked away.
I love these kids. They are awesome. I realized yesterday that I like working with these teenagers. I want to work in a high school. I feel called to work with teens…. wow I never thought I would say that.
We (teachers, educators) do make a difference in every kid’s life. I pray for all these kids (as you know I pray the rosary across campus) and I try to relate to them, understand them … and try to make school more fun and interesting for them, knowing what I thought and what I was like back in the day.
It only took me, a total rebellious punk dope, over 40 year to figure out what/who I wanted to be and God has truly blessed me on this teaching journey with amazing kids. The children he has placed in my life are truly a gift, as all children are a gift from God, no matter if they come from broken homes, or have special needs and learning disabilities …or if they choose to wear icky gauges… God is always showing me, teaching me something, saying “Pray for them, teach them and love them,”… for in this day and age they (we) need it. … we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139: 14)…gauges, and Mohawks and all…