THE BLOG
06/16/2014 03:47 EDT | Updated 08/16/2014 05:59 EDT

My Students Are More Than A Paycheque, They're My Treasures

So many memories. Held in one small box of treasures. But it couldn't possibly hold the greatest treasure of all. The students. Every single one of them that has passed through my classroom. The easy ones. The hard ones. The funny ones. The struggling ones. All of them. They have all made an impact on my life.

Gary Roebuck via Getty Images

I don't have words right now. I am overwhelmed. That so many would read my blog and be moved is beyond comprehension. It began as a way for me to share my teacher's heart. And writing is the way that I express myself.

This weekend, as I sat around wondering where this whole situation would end up, I pulled out my special box. It is a box of treasures. Notes, cards, pictures. After over 20 years of teaching it is impossible to keep everything, but here is what I discovered.

I discovered that my heart lies with students. Students who love to sing. Love to laugh. Even love to learn.

I discovered that there is magic inside of a classroom. We take 27 individual students and create a classroom. One community. A place where we care for each other, where we celebrate together, and where sometimes, we even cry together.

Over the years I have had the privilege of being a significant someone in the lives of many students. They have, in turn, been significant in my life as well.

There was a Grade 1 student whose needs were many. Her mother thanked me for "being a guiding light for [their] family." Really? How did I do that? I only remember loving this little girl enormously and trying my best as a young teacher to ensure that she learned with the rest of the class. I remember fighting for her to do the same things the rest of the class was doing, but she did them her way. With support. And we celebrated with her when she did.

Another student in Grade 2 was a gifted writer. She discovered in my class a love of poetry. I don't remember how I did that. I just remember being inspired by a visit from an amazing poet name Robert Heidbreder who visited our school. I took away the three Rs of poetry from his workshop and introduced them to my students. We read many poems. And we wrote them.

This young girl wrote me a poem when I transferred to a new school: "A poem from a thankful poet" by Candice. Just two weeks ago, I saw this former student for the first time in eight years. She is starting college in the fall and she is going into journalism. How amazing is that?

Then there's the parent of the boy I taught in Grades 3 and 4. He came in reading "Captain Underpants" and other similar books that some boys seem to gravitate to so naturally. I told him that he should challenge himself to read harder books too. And he did.

When he left my room, he was devouring books such as "The Name of This Book is Secret" by Pseudonymous Bosch. His mother stopped me in the parking lot one day to say thank you for helping her son become a reader. Me? I did that? I just remember finding as many new books as I could for this boy because he read them faster than I could get my hands on them.

I recall giving book talks to "sell" the books to the class and then asking who would like to read them. His hand would shoot up, so I would pass them his way.

So many memories. Held in one small box of treasures.

But it couldn't possibly hold the greatest treasure of all. The students. Every single one of them that has passed through my classroom. The easy ones. The hard ones. The funny ones. The struggling ones. All of them. They have all made an impact on my life.

As I sit here waiting to hear whether I will be back to finish out the school year properly, I am overwhelmed. Because I have something that no paycheque can ever match -- my memories.

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