when i was a little girl, i spent more time with my great grandmother than i did with my parents. she cared for me while they were at work. she took me to the mall on the weekends. she encouraged my bookworm-ish tendencies by spending hundreds of dollars on books for me. she's also the reason i chose teaching for my profession.
she taught for over forty-five years, and she had stories she'd tell me. sometimes they were funny, and sometimes sad...but they were always inspiring because of the smile she'd get when she thought about her teacher days. she was so happy to share those stories with me, and i could tell how happy teaching made her.
and her students. we'd be out to lunch or at the grocery store, and people would come up to her and tell her that she was their seventh grade english teacher...she hadn't taught for many years, and these former students looked old enough to be my grandfather...the fact that they still remembered her so many years later made a huge impression on me. she recieved christmas cards from students, valentine's day gifts from students...she even had one student dedicate a book to her. he sent her an autographed copy. this was a student she taught in fifth grade...remedial reading before and after school because no one else had bothered to take the time to teach him to read. i decided a long time ago that i wanted to be just like my gram. i wanted to inspire and touch my students the way she did. i wanted to make an impact on them so that years and years later they'd still remember me.
but most of all i want to make my gram proud.
last semester when i was student teaching, i'd go to her nursing home to visit her, and i'd tell her stories about my day. and she was always so excited to hear them. i could tell she was remembering her teacher days, and as i was telling her stories, i always hoped she was proud of me. i hoped she knew i was trying to be a teacher like her...one who gave everything to her students.
she passed away last october...right in the middle of my student teaching. i think the hardest thing about it was she never saw me as a real teacher. and i know it doesn't matter. she was proud of me anyways, but that was the one thing i wanted.
my goal is to someday be as good as she was. to be patient and kind and understanding. i know i sometimes let the unimportant things get to me, and i need to stop and remember why i'm teaching.
sorry to get all emotional on you all...i must be tired or something.