Do you see me? And Rachel? Sigh…and the cutest boy in class–totes my boyfriend. I am just sad you can’t see his amazing rat-tail.
This is where it all started. A couple years ago (well, like three) I was in between Florida and Virginia. (Oooh, that was another transitional time that was tough, Steffy! Look out for broken hearts and bad choices!) I came home for the summer and took the job of managing our local pool. One day, this cute high school student came by, and when she signed in I realized that she was the daughter of my hero–Miss Hurd. Miss Hurd is the teacher I am all cuddled up to–like I do to all people I love. (See? No personal bubble even then!)
I was so happy to tell this teenybopper–born just a few years after Ms. Hurd student taught in our classroom–that her mom was one of my greatest influences in my decision to be a teacher. I certainly have had some great teachers since she blessed those walls, but this is where it began:
These days, teachers know that you have to maintain a professional relationship with your students. gag. That isn’t exactly the case here where teachers are part of our community–and it certainly wasn’t the case then. Ms. Hurd was as enamored with me as I was her (or at least in my memory…) She had me over to her house after school. We baked and decorated a cake together. And her boyfriend (now husband) gave me some art supplies that led to one of the greatest adventures Rachel and I had. One day on the way to pick up my siblings from school, we discovered the power of a permanent purple ink pad. Quietly we dipped our hands over and over into the ink pad, hiding safety out of Mama’s view. “Girls, what are you up to?” she said knowingly. “Look!” we shrieked! We popped up over the bench seat in the van with our purple hands proudly on display! This, of course, led to our moms trying everything under the sun to get the ink off our small paws. I don’t remember how many days it took, but we were the talk of town (again, in my mind).
It’s amazing what an influence teachers can be for their students. At some point, Mama and I went through all of the teachers I had and labeled them great, good, and bad. I had very few “bad” teachers–and I’m trying to thank the “fair-to-middling” teachers personally. I know the power of a simple, “Thanks for all you’ve done.” Teachers really don’t hear it enough, and they are hearing it even less in the current dark days of education. It’s like my friend said, “Now is NOT a good time to be in education.” How true! And how unfortunate for the masses of innocents (Haha! That sounds like something my vampire thrillers would say).
I’m looking forward to teaching in Chiapas (and the more I say it, the better I become at pronouncing it). I know that things will be much different than here in the States, and I feel like it will be the transition I need to regain my passion for education. If you haven’t checked out the website–do! The kids are truly adorable! I am trying to read up on the current political status as well as the history of the state. The area is the most rural area of Mexico. Last night, I did a search and was startled to see pictures of jaguars, pumas, and spider monkeys! The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) even has their fingers in the pot!
It’s hard to believe that this is all happening so quickly. Today (or sometime last night) reality smacked me in the face, and I began making a list of “To Dos” and “To Takes.” Any advice is welcome from you seasoned travelers!