Recently, I was reading a post about what a teacher wished she had more of (I can’t find the post or else I’d link to it) – things like more time, more resources, more to help with student achievement. As I was reading, of course, I was nodding my head in agreement, but I also kept thinking, what I really wish I had more of, was simply, me.
I am very lucky. I have an amazing student teacher this year, a loving foster grandmother, and a paraprofessional who works in my room for many hours each day, but even with all those adults, and I’ve worked with no other adults in the room, so I know how what it’s like to be all alone, I still sometimes wish there was more me to go around.
The analogy I use is a pie – simply because pies are always used as analogies and I love pie. Apple pie, cherry pie, most any pie will do, but I digress. I’m the pie and however many students I have is the number of slices. Of course, some kids get bigger slices than others, but everyone gets a piece. Some days there may be one or two that get almost half my pie and the others share the rest… as my sprouts have heard over and over, ‘fair isn’t equal’ – especially when dealing with pie. No matter how I slice and dice it, I always wish the pie was bigger. Sure more books, iPads, and math manipulatives would be great, but more of me is what they really want.
As much as I’ve thought about it, I’ve yet to discover a way to clone myself. Perhaps someday, there will be ten of me in my classroom, two or three Mr. Halperns sitting at each table smiling, laughing, tying shoes, zipping coats, applying bandaids, reading one on one, and just being me. It might seem a little creepy, but I think my students would love it.
Of course, this isn’t going to happen anytime soon. So I try my best to make sure each child gets a little of my attention each day. Have I had a conversation with everyone? Did they get a hug or pat on the back from me yet today? There are five kids who need shoes tied, one with a bloody finger, another vomiting on the floor, and two boys wrestling on the floor – I need to handle all these situations with clarity, ease, and love in the next two minutes before the principal arrives for my observation… and somehow I do.
They say wizards and magic aren’t real, but anyone who works with small children knows:We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams, Wandering by lone sea-breakers, And sitting by desolate streams;— World-losers and world-forsakers, On whom the pale moon gleams: Yet we are the movers and shakers Of the world for ever, it seems.
As much as I’d love to give a little more of me, I have to remind myself, and I do so daily, I’m already giving all of me and that’s all anybody can strive to do.