Every day I walk into my classroom, I am deathly terrified and immensely hopeful.
I am terrified of not succeeding. Terrified of not teaching my kids the right stuff. Terrified of not being planned enough. Terrified, ultimately, of how they could turn out if they don’t master the material. As this fear consumes me, it is this lingering thought that propels me to do everything I can for my kids precisely because it’s not about me anymore. I am responsible for thirty-eight lives every single day. I cannot afford to fail them.
I have been thinking hard about this because I know what the statistics say. I have written about them before. But as much as those numbers terrify me, I have an overwhelming amount of hope that we can create something transformational together in room *369. I say this because as I saw them recite the pledge of allegiance today, I could not help but think about how much hope they give me about the work I’m doing, what we can accomplish together, and their future here in America. Every day I am blown away by what they are capable of doing. Michelle*, for example, can not only do her work but has the courage to call me and ask for help in English despite being an English language learner. Three of my students today turned in TWENTY-EIGHT pages of multiplication problems that I assigned last night. And Jordan* today? Wow. Despite his ADHD, he was on top of it today explicitly telling me how badly he wanted to earn “superstar” status today and was going to be silent and follow directions to do so.
Their actions thus far have demonstrated to me that they have the most genuine thirst to learn and impress when they walk into our classroom. Granted, we have a lot of work to do but I love our start so far. As their teacher then, it is my responsibility this year to give them the space to be transformational so we can create impossible realities. And I
hope plan to do just that.
*Names and numbers have been changed.