I can hardly believe it has been over a week since I posted to MtDC (Making the Days Count). It has been busy with school and other activities. William and Olivia started school the same day our school started with kids and it has been hectic. However, it is a much better beginning to the school year, than last year.
It is always fun to see the excitement of the first day as students discover who their teachers will be and as usual, I had a fair share brothers and sisters of siblings this year. This is my twelfth year of teaching and the first group of students I had graduated (or should have) from college last spring. I am certain a few are taking a longer track as the employment situation is horrendous for new college graduates as well as just about everyone else. Olivia is entering second grade and was assigned to William’s second grade teacher. We thought it was great, but she was not sure about it. I came home Tuesday afternoon and greeted me as I got out of the car in the driveway and exclaimed “Mrs. Rebro is AWESOME!” She has had two great years with teachers and though she did not love them, she respected them and she learned in the classroom – which is the point, learning. I tell my students at the beginning of the year about summer. By summer I mean, some of you will like my class and me and some of you won’t; that is just the way it is. For some students time in my class will zip by like summer and for others it will be as it is, the school year. Regardless we are together and the summer analogy works both ways for students as well as teachers.
However, you just never know. Tuesday afternoon I had two former students stop in to say hello. They had moved on the high school and came back to say hello to their middle school teachers and I got a visit. These were kids, who I sensed could not wait to move on when they were in my room, but they came back to say hello and see what I was up to. You just never know. On Wednesday, I had another group of kids come find me – once again, you just never know. The kinds of things they remembered were not specifically about content or curriculum but about learning and growing, exactly why I became a teacher. Growing up – especially adolescence – is difficult and this particular group is more about physical, emotional, and social growth than it is about intellectual growth. I always feel like I have done my job when I get a visit from a former student or hear from one, as I did last year when I received a graduation announcement. However, I also realize for every one former student who comes back that there are several others who look back and fondly remember middle school but can’t come back and visit or don’t come back for a variety of reasons.
A few years ago, I was talking with Warren, my brother, and he asked me, “Do you ever think of when we were growing up?” I told him I think about it all the time, every day! When I went back to school to become a teacher in ‘97, I was whisked back to middle school and other parts of growing up. Some of it was painful, some was funny, and some was downright insightful. When I decided to make a career change in ‘96, I thought about all of the teachers who made a difference for me and I wanted to make a difference for kids and share my passion – history and social studies. The two biggest influences as teachers in my life were Mrs. Atlee and Mr. Wright. Both of them saw something in me, reached out, and made a difference in my education. I vaguely remember some of the topics they taught but most of what I remember was their friendship and coaching when I needed it most.
Over the course of the next several posts, I plan to write what I learned, how it changed me and the course of where I was headed. I hope that you can follow along. The weekend has been busy with activities and all sorts of household chores. The weather has been dry so I skipped mowing the grass Saturday and instead cleaned the basement – it was a mess for more reasons than my own doing. Sunday was church and helping to setup t/he tents for outdoor church – long story hopefully, it will make the blog. The remainder of today (Sunday, 8/29) has been spent cooling down, managing Olivia and William who are both spent, and keeping Ivy corralled. It has gone quickly. I am reminded of Muhammad Ali who said, “Do not count the days; make the days count.” I am working at making the days count in everything I do. By my count, I have made a difference in some child’s life in four days of school and I have 168 ahead of me before school ends in June. Stay tuned and let me know how you make the days count.