I Think I Know Why Teachers Teach!

This article was received from a teacher of disadvantaged and handicapped youth who wished to share her observations with others.

I read a quote from Ann Landers this week, "Keep in mind that the’true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good." This started me thinking what kind of person could she be referring to? Could others think of our students as some of these people? I am almost sure that I would have before working here at O.A.C. Those who before I found unlovely or even a bit scary because I hadn’t gotten to know each one as a precious gift. Each one with something to teach if only you’ll listen. I wish you could go with me and meet each one of these special people. Adam has taught me about trust. He will follow you anywhere you choose to lead him with a smile one his face. He simply puts his baby soft hand in the crook of your arm and you’re off. This kind of trust I believe is the kind that the Lord would be pleased to see in His children also. To put my hand in that of the Father and follow with a smile would be an accomplishment indeed. Julie has helped me to remember to be more understanding. One day she was cranky and threw her toys. I was starting to feel very irritated with her. I then removed her shoes and saw that the warts on her foot had been removed. Her foot was really hurting her but she couldn’t tell me. Sometimes you respond to the way people are acting but they can’t tell you what is really bothering them. Jack has encouraged me to be persistent. That if I don’t give up when it seems hopelessly repetitive he may catch on when you least expect it. Working here at the center has also helped with aspect of humility. Vanity about my appearance kind of goes by the wayside when a student throws food on you, or its swim day and student needs come first and you have that wilted look, you learn to be yourself. Michael has helped me with forgiveness. He has hit me in frustration, bit his own hand. Moments later he turned around and picked my hand up and gently placed a wet kiss on the back of it. Today, James who is built like a line backer showed a lesson on loyalty. Craig while watching Muppets Treasure Island removed his shoes and socks. This bothered James a great deal so he picked up Craig’s socks. Turning them right side out, he followed Craig around the room trying to get his socks back on his feet. Craig was not the least bit interested in this at all. James sat down on the floor and when I looked at him again he had also removed his shoes and socks. If his friend wasn’t willing to wear shoes and socks then he was joining him. His tender caring for his friend with unselfish love spoke volumes to me. Alisha has mirrored for me joy in the midst of a trial. Her frail body, often in a great deal of pain is still quick to give you one of her famous smiles. Such joy puts me to shame at times. I think I know why teachers teach, the pure joy when a student learns a new sign, or gives a correct response is very close to pure joy. It makes the work put into preparation of the material or the time spent teaching it well worth it. The moments that have occurred here have been like gifts given to me from each one of the students I’ve gotten to know and love. So from my point of view a person who can do you absolutely no good doesn’t exist.