Recently, I attended a funeral service for a former student at my previous school. It was a tragic auto accident and extremely sad. In my 10 years in education I have been to way to many of these. Losing a teenager at such an early age is heartbreaking for the family and for everyone around. They have so much to live for and so much potential waiting to be unlocked. I worked very closely with this student as a principal and was proud to see that he graduated this past year and had worked extremely hard in doing so. He was going to be an electrician, and those dreams were cut short.
One of my former teachers wrote via Facebook, about how many hours we spend with kids and the bonds that we create with them and how that this profession is more than a job. To me a job is when you go home and you don't stress or worry about anything. Once five-o-clock hits you clock out and go home and forget about whatever it was you were doing. There is no emotional connection to what you do, it is just "work." Teaching and learning is so different, we care deeply about kids and their general welfare. It's not a job. The relationships that are created and bonds formed help us get every last bit out of the student. You are either all in or nothing in this job and developing those strong relationships with kids are key to their success. As bad as this hurts, I am reminded that educating young people is not a job it's a way of life.