Most of us know that when we need help in our life, we look to those who are closest to us for strength. We quite literally and figuratively “hold” the hands of those who desperately need us to help them find whatever answers they may be seeking, and thereby, we offer them solace and comfort. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve realized that this is also true of teachers, whether it be “holding” a student’s hand through a difficult project to ensure that they have the best possible chance of success, or “holding” the hand of a student who needs emotional comfort.
I have thought countless times that as a teacher I am part educator and part counselor. We wear many hats as a teacher, not the least of which is helping students to find who they are and who they want to be. In the last several weeks, I have found myself being counselor almost as often as being educator, and I have found that it is quite cathartic for me in terms of settling issues with which even I have been grappling. The power of talk is not overrated when it comes to settling the uneasiness in a young person. However, often the tables are turned, and it is the students who come to our aid.
I was out sick with the flu for two days this week, and when I returned I was treated to many of my students inquiring about my health. Many students actually said they missed me and were happy to see me return to school. You know, so often for me it is those small kindnesses from students that touch me more than the big gestures of kindness that are so pervasive in our world today. Sometimes, it’s the simple “We missed you” that makes even a teacher know that her students are “holding” her hand and making her strong, making her a better teacher, making her a better person. It simply made me smile. Now, that’s a good day.
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