I love teaching 6th grade.
I truly do. I love being around these hilarious, bright, and thoughtful students.
Now, some of you may be confused why I used the adjective thoughtful in the above sentence. That was not an accident. Yes, I am dealing with hormonal teenagers. I have a boy and/or a girl who cries every day. There are awful smells and annoying comments that occur on a daily basis. But, on the flip side there are also so many wonderful things happening in my classroom. I see students gain confidence in their ability to do math, I see children learning to handle conflict and learning how to be friends with one another. I enjoy lots of stories of laughter and ridiculousness.
The other day, I came in from recess and I saw one of my girl students in the classroom. I was about to lecture her about being inside, until I noticed what she was doing.
She had 24 handwritten letters and little candies that she was putting on desks. She had, on her own time and free will, written each student in the classroom a letter (and they were not short letters!) about the good qualities each student in the classroom possessed. As cliche as this sounds, I was almost brought to tears.
She came up to me and handed me a letter as well and then ran outside with a huge grin on her face. Essentially, in the letter, what she explained to me was that I had inspired her to write these letters to the other students. She said, "You do such a good job at making us feel so good about ourselves and I wanted to do that as well." You guessed it, I was teary eyed at this point.
It's moments like these that I remember why I am teaching.
Now, I am not a mother yet. But, after teaching for a few years now, I already see the exponential importance of education in a child's life. There is so much more to an education than making sure the students know how to do fraction models. Yes, that is so incredibly important. Students NEED to learn how to think and do math and grow intellectually. But education is about an entire facet of things, intellectually, emotionally, and mentally.
I have seen how having a good education makes people grow. I see how having a good education challenges people past their breaking limits. I see how having an education helps someone with his or her confidence. And for that, I am grateful. I am grateful that I was lucky to have a splendid education, and I am grateful that I am doing that to help students now. Education truly can change lives. I know this because it has changed mine.
As many of you know, I had the opportunity to live and teach in Kenya in a village a few years ago. This opportunity validated this importance of education to me. Those students would do anything for an education. And I have seen those students who continue their education, excel financially and in other realms of their lives. Education changes everything, people. This is something that I can promise you.
I have teamed up with IKEA today to talk about how you can do your part during this Christmas season to help those who need an education.
Education is the most impactful way to help children escape poverty; this change to their lives is immense. Because education has a direct impact on well-being, from better health to increased opportunities. It gives children knowledge skills and confidence they need to shape a better future for themselves. When a child begins – and stays in school, he or she not only changes the course of their own life, but that of future generations.
*For every soft toy and children's book sold between November 9, 2014 and January 3, 2015, the IKEA Foundation will donate $1.00 to children's education through UNICEF and Save the Children.
-$1.00 is split and donated to UNICEF and Save the Children.
-Since 2003, more than 11 million children have been impacted through 99 projects in 46 countries. Total amount donated $90.4 million (67 million euro).
-Last year, the IKEA Foundation raised $13.6 million (10.1 million euro) and over $1 million was raised in the US. This year, they will probably go over $100 million in total contributions since 2003.
Go to IKEA today and buy a soft toy. Do your part to help the education of these special children.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.