That is Why I Teach

This is another installment in the guest post series by my family.  This is my little mama writing again, because she has always been a great writer and she’s always been a great teacher in some capacity.  Many many kids have benefited from her teaching and her kindness through her many years.  She has so many stories to tell and this is just a snippet.  


I have been a teacher now for 45 years. Are you kidding me? How is that possible? I can’t believe it when I see it in print. For the last 33 of those years, I’ve been doing home instruction. I work with kids who can’t go to school for whatever reason; we usually meet in their homes.

Barbie, Mike and little baby Katy in Dallas.

I LOVE what I do. My husband always says it’s too bad everyone can’t feel about their jobs the way I do. I love working one on one with a student, rather than with 25 at a time. I get to know the child (or teenager), his parents, any pets, sometimes grandparents, siblings–the whole shebang. I can tailor the level of work just right, because I soon learn what’s too easy and what’s too hard for this particular kid.

When I think about why teaching suits me so well, certain students always come to mind. One was a high school freshman with leukemia. He was Hispanic; lived with his mom who didn’t speak English. But she smiled a lot. I worked with him over the school year; he was in and out of the hospital; had a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. I got permission to work with him over the summer to make up for time we had missed.

I went to their apartment several times a week for the whole summer. He was actually receiving chemotherapy while we met. We were reading The Crucible out loud. He’d be some characters and I’d be some. I remember we reached the last page, and he read the last lines. We both closed our books, and he looked up and smiled and said, “THAT was a great book.”

I suddenly had such a lump in my throat that I could only nod. That moment was why I do what I do. Here’s a young boy who really will have no advantages in this world; who was fighting for his life. The Crucible will not play a very big part in his future, if, please God he has a future. But he will have the satisfaction of having read and understood perfectly a classic piece of literature. The next time he had to do something he thought was beyond him, I was hoping he’d remember what he did that summer with me, and feel proud and confident and capable.

I’m working right now with an adorable little first grader with all kinds of health issues. The other day she was kind of bouncing in her chair, working on some math problems. She looked up at me over her glasses (kill me now) and said, “This is fun. What are we gonna do next?”

Yep. That does it for me.

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The most beautiful woman in the world. Always surrounded by books.

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