Friday, February 14, 2014

For My Students

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saying this to anyone other than my husband or my sons was not something that I woke up looking forward to this morning. I have no strong feelings about VDay. I don't hate it; I participate knowing that love should be expressed every day not just today when Hallmark tells us to be mushy. It is typically a good excuse for Brandon and I to have date night since we tend to neglect date night.

I knew that school today would be a bit chaotic with singing valentines and flower deliveries, and I expected the stress that comes with such things these days. I was prepared for a rough day but knew I could handle it. I can handle a lot on the day before a weekend.

During my first class of the day, I was thinking about how great my students are and how I wish I had brought them a little treat. Unfortunately, I am rarely that organized. My seniors have been doing some good work, so I had this urge to gush at them a bit this morning. I didn't, though, because it would have been a distraction. During my study hall with the same students right after first period, I was surprised to have a group of seniors and juniors appear by my desk (Let the chaos of VDay begin, I thought).

They weren't there to deliver flowers or singing valentines, though. They handed me a tote full of goodies and a bouquet of balloons and a teddy bear from the senior class. I was shaking and trying not to cry because it was so unexpected and so kind. And then the juniors handed me more goodies and teddy bears from their class. I don't even have the juniors for class this year.

A couple hours later I held my bowl of hot soup while a group of students delivered a singing valentine to me, and shortly after that, I received an assortment of flowers. These awesome teenagers made my day. I was overwhelmed in the best way.

So I've been thinking about this kindness all day. I tried to write my students a thank you note but deleted most of the sentences I wrote because (along the lines of my blog yesterday) there are no words to truly express how powerful these gifts were. It really has nothing to do with the stuff and everything to do with the people behind the stuff. These are individuals who let me face them with my truth when the semester started, "My baby died last week." Many of them wrote notes or stopped in to show support in the beginning weeks of the semester.

These teenagers are the reason I go to work every day. They are why I have the job that I have. While the days this semester have been hard, it isn't because of my students. It's because my reality is difficult. My students, like my sons, have brought humor and "business as usual" back into my life.

They have helped me feel ok saying to all of you, "Happy Valentine's Day!" And I really mean it.