Yesterday was a rough day. You see, I work in public education. In fact I have worked in some aspect of public education for more than twenty years. I have been a student, a teacher, a parent, a volunteer. I have served on Site Council, District Budget Committee, Parent Club. I now work as a Paraeducator. My job entails working with some of the neediest kids. And they’ve been stuck inside with this endless rain. They need their recess.
They need a lot of things. Things that people who don’t work closely with them have no idea.
But I do work closely with them. And I can help them become more confident readers. I can help them learn about irregular vowel patterns, and spelling by syllables. I can help them with their math, learning their ABCs. I can help them understand key details and the main idea. I can help them tie a shoe, get their lunch, open an umbrella. I can applaud their biography report, their part in the Aesop’s Fable performance. I can offer them a smile, a hug, a high five.
I help them live our school norms of Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Your Best. I will remind them to walk. To return their focus on the lesson not the fact that it is raining. Again. I will encourage, support, redirect, and remind myself why I’m there.
For the kids. For the love of learning. Because I can make a difference, even if it’s a small one in the broad scheme of things. I have to remember that for each one of those kids, their school is their world. Not their whole world, but a big part of it. And when they see me at the store, their eyes light up, and they smile and they tug on their parent’s hand and say, “She’s from my school.”