I saw you stumbling into the lounge this morning, well before you were paid to be there, fumbling for quarters to get a caffeine fix.
I saw the papers spilling out of your bag, the ones you graded too late last night because you promised you would.
I saw that silly Homecoming week get-up you wore to promote school spirit, and I also saw you tutoring that student from 4th period because she just can't understand how to multiply polynomials yet.
I saw you - see you - and wanted you to know.
I also want you to know I understand. October is a hard month in this line of work. The new of August has worn off, the exultation of Christmas break is far away, and you're smack dab in the middle of it all. You're in the meat of the material, the midst of the semester. You're in the meetings and the grading and the planning - and you're wondering if any of it makes a difference.
Rest assured. It does.
I know in the midst of it all you start losing sight of the forest for the trees, and you focus so greatly on the details that you miss the big picture. Those kids you're planning for, grading for, working for? They trust you. They listen to you, they want to please you, and they depend on you. Whether you realize it or not, you have become part of their stories. Years from now, when they speak of whatever grade you teach, they'll speak of you. You and they are connected forever, and everything you're doing now is impacting who they'll become.
Don't forget that.
Yes, I know exams and testing and evaluations are coming, and I know your calendar is overflowing with to-do's. I know your bag is full again today, and tomorrow's hours already seem too short.
But today, if you're feeling the weight of it all, can I invite you - just for a moment - to forget the lists and remember the love? For just a moment, don't think of all you need to do, but all you need to be. Don't look at the grades, but remember their faces. Remind yourself of what matters, and make the right adjustments. Go back to how you felt the day before school started, and recapture just a smidge of that excitement and anticipation. Tomorrow is a new day - a fresh day - the first day of something new. Make it what it needs to be. You're a teacher, and you have that power.