A year ago today, it was four weeks after the earthquake. I wrote this, reflecting on how I had changed. Of course, it was a little early to say that.
Today, I thought about those days a year ago, when I was so desperately missing my job and my students and my classroom. Today I yelled at my eighth graders (not just raising my voice to be heard above them, but yelling, which I do about once a semester and hate myself for immediately afterward). The other day I commented to my seventh graders that it seemed they were having a hard time listening, and one of them said, "We're behaving better than we usually do." Another one added, "Yeah, you're just in a bad mood."
I took a moment, while I was on lunch duty and policing the playground, to be thankful for meaningful work, for papers to grade, for reading and writing. (This time last year I could hardly read a book.) I also thanked God for my students, for who they are (noisy, maddening, lovable), and for who they are becoming. I wish I could say I won't ever yell at them again, or ever be in a bad mood again, but I know that's not realistic. The earthquake didn't turn me into a flawless teacher or a flawless human being. But I can promise that I will always be grateful; I will always remember, if not every moment, at least every day, to thank God for my life, for my work, and for the young people in my temporary care.
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