They showed up one morning. Could have been any morning, really. And there they were. Bright eyes, smiling. Hello, Mrs. Gard and then the pause. Waiting for my response. Their faces searching mine for that encouraging smile.
Do I believe in them?
He fell asleep every single day in my history class. The room was dark and calming, a glow from the overhead bulb the only light. His long hours at the fish plant gave him little time to sleep. Little time to be the teenager he should have been. Little time to care about facts and dates.
Did I believe in him then?
The boy and his mother walk the halls. It’s his first day of school ever, coming up this Thursday. There are fears and worries, but mostly just excitement. Everything is new and inviting. School is cool when you’re four.
Do I believe in him?
Do I believe… in them?
Teachers: we have children who will walk into our lives, into our halls and into our classrooms in the days ahead. They will have stories and experiences, expectations and worries- hopes and fears. They will have dreams. Dreams they believe in.
Do I believe in them?
We have children coming who will challenge our patience, try our tolerance, question our leading, test our resolve. Children coming who will make us laugh and make us cry. And some who will make us want to shelter them with everything we’ve got. These children- they will work their way into our hearts. Will work their way into our world. We will come to love them like our very own. We will teach them, listen to them, care for them, nurture them, inspire them, learn from them, hope for them. And when we have to, we will fight for them.
And all because we believe in them. Because we care.
Do you believe?
Do you believe in them?
For if you do, they will believe in themselves too. They will believe they can.
And because they can, they will:
Into the amazing, creative human beings they were meant to be. And they too will inspire and encourage others to believe in themselves. To believe that they too CAN. And all this because YOU believed. Because we as teachers believed in them.
Because that’s one small step we teachers can take to make the incredible happen.