Thursday, January 27, 2011

Favorites

Some teachers say that they do not have favorite students. Those teachers lie. We all have favorite students, and none of us can explain why some kids are our favorites and others are not.

My only explanation is that some kids crawl into my heart and stay there. It is like friendship; sometimes we just cannot help it. JJ is just one of many favorite students.

My LDS students struggle with JJ...and they do not understand why I adore him as much as I do. In their world, I should only adore kids who have high standards. Kids who don't drink. Who don't smoke. Who don't have sex. My favorite students should be the students that share my standards.

It is true, some of my favorite students have been LDS. Good LDS kids. Kids going on missions and who will marry in the Temple one day.

But, it is also true, that most of the kids that I adore. Most of my favorite kids are the kids with questionable standards. Kids with tempers. Kids who make wrong choices on a regular basis. Kids who don't go to college. Kids who a lot of people forget.

I have been asked on more than one occasion why I care so much about kids who seem not to care about anyone but themselves. And I struggle to answer in a way that people understand. And sometimes when I am not thinking about it at all, the answer comes to mind mind with crystal clear clarity. I care about these kids because everyone else writes them off. I champion for these kids because no one else does. I love these kids because they need to know more than anything that they are loved. The good kids are always favored. They always know that they are loved. There is a line of teachers fighting for them. Fighting to have them in class. Fighting to get them into the best schools. I have learned in my short teaching career that I get the most satisfaction out of fighting for kids who do not typically have a champion. For kids who have seen the ugliness of the world and are not afraid of it. I am drawn to the kids who are not the good kids. These kids are not the ones teachers fight for; however, these are the kids that I love having in my classroom.

When I first became a teacher, I remember saying a prayer. I remember asking Heavenly Father to bless me to remember that every students I meet is His child. To remember that He loves each one of these kids as much as He loves me. I continue to say that prayer every single day. And I know that the Lord has blessed me with this knowledge. I know that the Lord has put me here right now, to let each of these kids know that they are loved.

I am grateful that I am drawn to these kids. They have changed my life. They have made me a better teacher. A better Mother. A better Latter Day Saint.

And maybe it is as Mark Twain once said, "Love is not a product of reasoning and statistics. It just comes...and cannot explain itself."

I am happy with that.

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