“Ms. C, why is the questions mark upside down?
“Ms. C, why is there an accent over the a?”
“Ms. C, why can’t we use red pen?”
“Ms. C, why don’t they just speak English everywhere?”
“Ms. C, why did you say that?”
“Ms. C, why do you only work here for one year?”
Why, why, why.
Teaching at Loyola Academy over the last three months has allowed me the opportunity to answer more “why” questions than I ever thought possible. Sure I did my fair share of babysitting three year olds, but this…this is different. I am constantly being questioned in and out of the classroom about what I am doing and why I am doing it; which leads me to ask myself what am I doing and why am I doing it? I know I get to school at 7:30 a.m. every day, I know I teach Spanish to middle school boys, I know I am a member of the Alum Service Corps, and I know this is just one stop on my life adventure. But, why am I doing this?
My time at Loyola over the last three months has taught me some incredible lessons on being patient, perceptive, and present. I have learned to be where my feet are and leave what happened in the last class outside and treat each student with understanding and respect. I have been taught that first impressions are almost always incorrect and there is always time for a student to show you a new side of themselves. It is easy to look at this year of service and think about how much ‘help’ we are giving and pat ourselves on the back. It is harder to realize that our schools are helping us more than we are helping them.
Steve, Phil, and I are always being told that we are giving gifts to students that will be opened ten years from now. When I reflect on that statement I realize the same is true for the gifts that students are giving me. So why am I here? I am here to learn, I am here to grow, and I am here to do what I can with what I have to give. I am not here to save the day, I am not here to change who my students are, and I am not here to rescue them from poverty. I am here to understand their barriers, empathize with their struggles, and empower them to keep moving forward. That is why I am here.