Occasionally, my students surprise me.
Like when they exclaim in June, after a year of calling me Mrs., “You’re married?!”
Or, when they announce, “My feet smell good today.” (They definitely did not smell good that day.) I say, “Oh?” and they say, “Yeah, I put perfume on them this morning.”
Or, when given permission to go rinse out their mouth because they have been hacking incessantly, they head to the hand sanitizer machine, and then wonder why I am shouting STOP across the room in horror.
Each time one of these things happen, I am officially no longer shocked by one more piece of the mysterious and highly erratic adolescent brain.
But sometimes, I am caught off-guard in an ever-so-sweet way by those same adolescent brains. Like when this note greeted me the day after I was out sick…
…and when a note like this showed up on my desk, just because.
Those corny videos she mentions? They began with this one.
Neither of the two students who left those notes “look good” on paper. On paper, those two students will probably make me, in the eyes of the state of New York, look like a teacher “in need of improvement.” They entered their 7th grade year with impossible deficits in reading and writing, and 42 minutes five days a week can only move so much of a mountain, if I am being completely honest with myself.
This is not to say I don’t bring my biggest, baddest shovel with me every day.
But I now have, in my permanent possession, proof of them on paper that means so much more than their test scores.
Those two kids may struggle to discern an author’s tone, and analyze the meter of a poem, and correctly combine two sentences to create a subordinate clause…but those two kids can make their English teacher thank God for sending sweet reminders of why she chose this career in the first place. And they kind of make her get all mushy and smile-y in the process.
They make it worth it. Every. single. day.