Last week I received my bonus for teaching this year. I know that most teachers work for financial rewards, as I most certainly do, as well. However, my spirit seeks additional payment in forms other than monetary.
My spirit seeks approval; encouragement; the chance to share my skills with other teachers. Even better than these things, is proof, subtle or obvious, that my students have changed in response to my teaching or modeling. Sometimes I am lucky enough to notice new ways in which my students view or respond to the world around them.
Last week…the weather was fine and my students and I were ready to travel, with a couple hundred other 5th and 6th graders, to a distant town where we would attend a Disney On Ice show. The night before I had “played mother” and shopped for snacks and beverages, which I packed and brought along for my charges.
At last everyone was seated on the correct bus and we were ready to leave the school — backpacks, coolers, and picnic baskets loaded. The drivers of the several busses started the engines just as I muttered to myself, “Darn! I forgot my book.”
(Now, I have often explained to my students how much I hate to go anyplace without a book for I cannot stand to waste time when I could have been reading. I did not think they had even been listening. Was I ever wrong!)
I did not even realize that my comment was audible until two students immediately started to wail, “I forgot my book, too!!” Before I could stop them, they leaped to their feet, and rushed off the bus, heading into the school. I decided to follow and get my book, also, for by the time I could catch them and order them back to the bus — we could have our books!
Zoom! They ran into the building and headed in different directions — one to a locker and one to my classroom. That was soon followed by a dead run back to the bus. Whew! We had made it! The busses began pulling out.
I had just regained my seat when the Harry Potter reader began chewing out those kids who had stayed behind, “Why didn’t YOU go get a book?! You know it’s a shame to spend time staring into space, when you could very well be reading a good book. How can you just sit and do nothing?!”
My heart almost burst with pride to hear a former non-reader chastise mentally lazy classmates.
Ka-ching! Ka-chang! Account — PAID IN FULL.