I was talking with my wife about this recently over coffee. Kids to me are cool. They are full of life…full of energy…and have a sense of wonder about them that is infectious. I love the fact that kids in the elementary school age have not yet been tainted by the world (for the most part) and that is despite the relentless onslaught of the internet and technology.
This summer I was working with the kids of some teachers. They ranged from 5 years old to 12, so it was quite a spread and challenging to say the least to find activities that would keep them engaged but out of each other’s hair. I found that turning off electronics for the morning restored a sense of calm to the classroom. The funny thing is, the kids DID find other things to do either by themselves or in groups to pass the time. They did not die from boredom. They actually learned to play and talk with one another. LOL What did we do before the age of electronics…right?
After school started this year I found myself in a job as a Teacher’s Aid. It is a perfect fit for me. It still allows me time to teach without all the headaches of planning and meeting with parents. This week I pulled lunchroom duty. This was something that most teachers dread and do because they are forced to do it. Not sure why, but I don’t mind it at all. It allows me to mix with the kids, serve them, and get to know them. As I was making the rounds and helping kids get the things they needed for lunch….this little girl came up to me out of the blue and gave me a hug. She never said a word to me. She just hugged me and went back to her seat. I would have thought it strange…but this happens to me a lot…..in school and in stores. It is hilarious the way kids look at me when they see me in the local WalMart. It is like, “What are YOU doing here?” LOL Then they come and hug me.
One of the gifts I have is the ability to communicate with kids. For some reason, I can connect with them….make them laugh….get them dancing….and keep them on task all at the same time. I almost feel like the Pied Piper. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know kids individually and teaching them as well. It always blows their mind when they meet an old man who claims to be Superman and says he is married to Wonder Woman! They also can’t believe that I know their music and that I know a few of their dance moves. Now that paints a visual doesn’t it?
I teach because I am using one of my natural abilities, and I know that if I encourage kids the right way they will have the opportunity to become all that God created them to be. If you look at it that way, it is a sacred obligation we have as educators to unlock the hearts and minds of future generations. I am glad that I came to the world of education late in my career because of the wealth of experience that I can pass on to them. This is not to take away from young teachers coming fresh out of college. They certainly have the same opportunity and obligation. For me, though, I think I can relate to kids in ways that I would never have been able to had I not gone through some of life’s battles and had the scars to prove it.
If you are an educator, I want to encourage you to give the best you have to the ones that have been entrusted to you. That is actually good advice for anyone in management as well. We have to opportunity to be world changers in a profound way. I am committed to doing my part, but I can’t do it alone. It does indeed take a village.