It’s a day to give thanks – a day that forces us to reflect and think about all of the things we are fortunate to have in our lives – our families, our friends, our jobs. I love this day – absolutely love it. At the same time, this is a tough week for me, and has been for the past ten years.
November 17, 2001 was a great day in my life – it was the day I got married – the day I thought would be celebrating the rest of my life. Being a teacher, the date was chosen carefully. Because I only have two personal days, I was able to take the Monday and Tuesday off afterwards and only had to come back in to school the day before Thanksgiving. I was then off for the next five days (we take kill deer day off here in Pennsylvania…) It was a great day and a great span for me. I married the woman I thought I would spend the rest of my life with.
Well, let’s just say that things didn’t go as planned. I don’t mean that to knock her – by all means I contributed to things not working. But this week has always been tough for me since. I’m slightly neurotic about things to begin with, but I really wrestle with my thoughts during this particular week. Typically, I try to bury myself in work and attempt to forget. I try to make it to Thanksgiving dinner and hope for the best – and it helps that my dad is the greatest Thanksgiving day cook on the face of this earth.
My tenth anniversary was supposed to be this past week and I didn’t handle it well. It added to my confusion with a situation I probably shouldn’t have had any confusion with and played a major role in it ending.
So let’s get to the thankful part of this – and the part that deals with what this blog is supposed to be truly about…
I gave a talk at our first in-service day that basically dealt with the fact that we don’t know what our students are going through on a daily basis, that in many cases we are the best thing going for them. I saw this first hand this week as a student of mine who has seen entirely too many valleys experienced yet another. Her situation thus far has been eerily similar to the one I experienced with my mom and it’s really hit home with me. She’s handled things in a way that’s beyond admirable – a way that I never had the strength to do. I’m thankful every day to have students such as her to make me see that it is possible to rise above crappy situations.
I am thankful – though I don’t always show it, readily – that I have the opportunity to work with some great kids – even when they express their anger with MLA and periods and quotation marks – and me. I am thankful that I get to hear a student say “Hey, just because we’re gifted doesn’t mean we’re smart.” I am thankful that I get to see growth on a daily basis, even when it comes after what feels like pulling teeth.
I am also thankful for the former students who stop back in while on Break to say hello and let me know how they’re doing. Haley, Jenn, Erica, Crew and Abby… your visit means more than you could know. It makes the hard work worth it to know you’ve had an impact, because all too often we are forced to wonder.
I am not the best at expressing my emotions, but I am unbelievably thankful for a ton on a daily basis…