- Last week was my Birthday Week. Yes, I said Birthday Week, NOT BirthDay. That's how we do it around here. I might add that it was the BEST birthday I've ever had. Whoever decided all the "fun" birthdays were over after 21 told a big, ole lie.
- I started teaching novels in sixth and seventh grade. I love to read, but I despise forcing kids to read on a schedule. It's stressful for me. It's stressful for them. More on that later...however, we are reading two fantastic books. If you have never read Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, you need to pick up a copy ASAP! And who can hate on S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders? Talk about a middle school classic!
- Finally, I received news that we are changing our writing test to get ready for the Benchmark/Common Core next year. It will now take a week instead of one day. Let me just throw my calendar out of the window now. But, seriously, I'm trying to stay positive. Promise!
Anyway, now that I've recapped, there is one event in the past two weeks that stands out to me as the biggest and best small, sweet moment of my "teacher life." I blogged at the beginning of the year about getting past the scowl. For this to make complete sense, you might want to look back at it for background. I essentially told a story about a student who, after a couple weeks of being shut off and shut down, finally smiled at me for the first time. Made. My. Day.
Well, my birthday was last Thursday, and my students were sweet as can be. They sang me Happy Birthday every class period and were on their best behavior. Great day, but my best school birthday present came on Monday. I was taking my sixth graders to the library to check out books. This particular girl, the one who I thought hated me from Day One, asked if she could please go to her locker. She forgot something. I said sure, but meet us in the library quickly, thinking that she had forgotten her library book that needed to be returned. Five minutes later, everyone had been released to find a book, and I was walking around helping students when she walked up to me and slipped a pair of earrings in my hand.
"Happy Birthday, Ms. Herring. I remembered that you said you liked mine, so I got you some."
It really is the sweet, small moments in life. The first week of school, when this student had a rough week and a few dress code violations, I just happened to tell her I liked her earrings as I was calling roll. She remembered. I remembered. I could've cried right then and there as she handed me those earrings with a smile. Teachers really do leave footprints on hearts. Sure, we're there to educate the mind, and with testing, testing, and more testing breathing down our necks, it can be easy to forget that we educate the heart, too. I will be wearing my new earrings to work tomorrow as I teach. Thank God my students continue to teach me lessons everyday, too.