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edu180atl: sharmaine mitchell 8.17.11

Opening car doors, smiling, and distributing hefty doses of “Good mornings” is not the ideal combination for someone who is not a morning person, but that’s just what I did this morning. I had carpool duty today, on the first day of school. It began with a joyful greeting and a long hug from a second grade girl. I loved her daily hugs last year, and this greeting made me smile!

More hugs and squeals followed, and I was still smiling. There was one hug from a girl entering kindergarten, the same girl on the birth announcement I received almost six years ago! There was another hug from another kindergarten girl, followed by, “I missed you when I was in New York”. Could today get any better?

Insert “screeching halt” noise. I saw a girl I taught in first grade who is now entering fifth grade. I was beyond excited and couldn’t wait for her to get out of the car! I just KNEW we would share one of our legendary hugs!

No deal. She gave a slight wave and continued walking with her friends. Ouch.

There’s my lesson. Children grow up. Do I still matter to her? I believe so, but this is a natural progression.

I never taught the girl in this photo, but her hug was one of the biggest I received today, which is why my role at Trinity is so cool. After an incredibly hectic day, this is what I take home.

I still matter.

About the author: Sharmaine Mitchell (@sharmitchell) is a 29-year-old webmaster and video producer, avid swimmer, and a former elementary school teacher.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. T #

    Aww. I hope all teachers remember that they DO matter; quite a lot! 🙂

    August 17, 2011
  2. The first day of school brings such joy! Isn’t it nice to see children SO excited about school…reminds me what a great opportunities we have as teachers to take advantage of such enthusiasm.

    August 17, 2011
  3. Oh my! We had our first “real” day at my school today, too. I came home exhausted… so aware of how much more I would have really wanted to do today, how aware of the full extent of the year ahead of me, and anxious that maybe I’m not as prepared as I’d want to be. I was replaying conversations and thinking of so many important things I forgot to say.

    And, then: your post! Thanks for the reality check. If a teacher does matter in a child’s life, it is not because her desks were the most polished, or because she could recite the textbook backwards and in 3 languages, or because she always gave a test on Tuesdays and the students loved the predictability. If a teacher matters in a child’s life, it is because of the relationships they have. It is the trust. It is ability to jump out of a car after 3 months apart and give huge, meaningful, joyful hugs.

    The best part of my day today was seeing my former students… getting their hugs, seeing their smiles, finding out where they were in their lives (because 3 months is such a long time in the life of a teenager). The best part of my day today was watching the freshman… all new to the high school and overhearing their conversations as they reconnected after time apart, celebrated overlapping schedules, and shared anxieties as a form of support. The best part of my day today was meeting the students who will be in my classes this year and wondering “where will our journey take us?”

    You are right, the kids do move on. They do grow up. But, we got to walk part of their journey with them, and that is so amazing. And, while much of the world can easily roll their eyes at the thought of teaching (“how can you control all those kids? … how can you stand to be around 20 teenagers at the same time?”…) we know the truth: it matters.

    August 17, 2011
  4. I can absolutely relate to this experience. I really believe that we reach so many more students than we can imagine, but only a small percentage of them are willing to approach us and show that affection towards us through a hug, a smile, or just a brief conversation. Just think of all the students that are too shy to approach us, but feel the same way. Makes it that much more important to put away pride, and approach those students as well, because they appreciate it and they love you too! You do matter! I love it.

    August 18, 2011
  5. Larry B. Davis #

    This is my daughter in whom I am well pleased. You continue to amaze me and make me very proud. The world is a better place because of you.

    Continued blessings!

    August 19, 2011
  6. bekah #

    I understand how it can be hard to get up in the mornings especially when you have to get up early. I am glad that you get up and do it anyway. I love to give all my past teachers hugs even though I’m in sixth grade.

    August 20, 2011
  7. That’s so awesome to hear, Bekah! ☺ That really means a lot to your former teachers!

    Dad, thank you so much for your comment! That means the world to me! ☺

    Thank you all for your comments! I truly enjoyed reading them.

    August 20, 2011

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