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There are times when teachers go over speed bumps in life, but as any good teacher knows, we have to maintain our composure each day. Hiding our internal struggles so it doesn’t affect our students. However, sustaining that can be challenging to say the least.
I teach twelve and thirteen-year-olds, and they are undeniably “unique.” They have many ups and downs. There are days where it is nothing but smooth sailing, and there are days where I just want to put my head in the sand. Between the hormones, drama, and everything in between, there is never a dull moment. They can love me one minute and hate me the next. That’s just the nature of it all.
Unbeknownst to my students, I found myself smack-dab in the middle of a family crisis in the second month of school. Honestly, I didn’t know if I was coming or going. The mind and emotions are very powerful entities, and they envelop our entire well-being; however, from the time school started to the end of the day, I had my game face on. I did a lot of smiling and focused as much as I could on my lesson and making sure my students received the best education possible. This is not to say that my family crisis did not insert itself into my thoughts about a thousand times a day. As soon as the three o’clock bell rang, and my students boarded the buses, I let the tears flow. Was I proud of myself for holding it in all day long? You better believe it! We’ve all been there, it’s not easy, but we do it for our students, keeping the illusion that teachers are superhuman.
The Moment of Truth
One weekend was a complete blur. I was struggling to keep afloat in an impossible situation at home. Trying to control something that I had no control of was driving me to the brink. I’m a worrier by nature, but I’m also one that strives to make the best in every situation. But this time I could find no silver lining. I was depleted, but Monday was here, and I had to put my happy face on and find the strength to get through the day.
My students were at their lockers, doing their early-morning-hallway-socialization with each other before homeroom. I was in my usual spot watching over them when one of my students walked up to me and said, “I was shopping with mom this weekend and saw this. I thought of you, so I got it for you.”
No, it was not Christmas, it was not my birthday, or any other holiday. It was just a regular day. The gift was a small book filled with inspirational quotes. The cover of it read, “She Believed She Could, So She Did.” As I stood there flipping through the pages, I stumbled upon this:
“Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess.
Just breathe and have faith that everything will work out for the best.”
Barely holding back my tears, I said, “This was the best, most meaningful gift I have ever received. You have no idea how much I needed this.”
This is one of those moments in time that will be entrenched in my mind forever. People say how much teachers impact our students’ lives every day, but the truth is, our students impact our lives too. They leave an imprint on our hearts forever.
My storm is passing, and I finally found that silver lining with a little help from a random act of kindness from a very unexpected source.
by Beth Hedrick
Beth Hedrick has been educating students for 22 years. She teaches in a rural southwest Virginia community that values the education of every student. She is the mother of two boys, Aaron and Landon, and is married to Todd.
She is an advocate for Autism Awareness, as her son Landon has Asperger’s Syndrome. She has served on her community and school system’s autism support team. Beth enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her Basset Hound, Lenny. She also likes to read, write, blog, and travel in the summer months.