Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My First Sub Job, Part VI

The last day of school was hot. I was desperate to get through it. I still had grades left to enter and would end up staying very late that day. I told the class good bye.

And then she said it. The girl who sat in the back and said very little the entire time I was there stood up and spoke up.

“We liked our other teacher because she let us mess around,” she said. “But I guess you did teach us stuff.” And then she stepped forward and hugged me.

I remember being so floored, I didn’t know what to say. I must’ve stood there like a cardboard cutout. The thing I regret most now is that she will never know how valuable those words were to me. How I cherished them. How important they were to me—not just then, but in all the years since.

Since then I’ve been surprised how often it’s that kid in the back—the one who never looked up, the one who never smiled, the one you thought was completely oblivious to your presence or even hated you—who later tells you that you touched them somehow.

Not for the first time, I cried on my way home. But this time it was for a different reason.

God hugs you. You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God. ~Hildegard


  1. Such a sweet story, Tammy. I think it sustains those who work with children (especially the tough kiddos) to realize that the seeds which are planted may someday bloom into something quite beautiful.

    Critter Alley

  2. Love this story. My dad taught high school for a number of years...the Sweathog kids. The ones who were always in trouble. Oh, the tales we heard! And then he informed my mom that he invited them over for an evening to discuss hypnosis (he taught psychology). They had to get permission slips signed, etc. (This occurred back in the early '70s and would probably not be allowed these days). My mom bit her nails for two weeks, worried about all the delinquents in her home at one time. And they came. All the girls wore nice dresses or skirts, and the boys wore suits. The "tough" kids. They behaved like perfect ladies and gentlemen the whole night. Sometimes kids give you just what you expect of them--what you see in them. My dad always saw the best. :)

  3. Aww, Tammy I know exactly what you mean. Years after she graduated preschool, a teenager came into my class and told me I had inspired her to write. Another girl in her senior year came to tell me I had inspired her to become a teacher. That meant more than anything.

  4. Good for you! Those kids can be very loyal.

    A group of at-risk boys showed me how much I meant to them. They stole my missing hall pass back from a kid who was holding it in a gym locker for the pricey ransom of two 20-ounce sodas.

  5. Tammy--THAT is why teachers have the best job in the world. THAT is why we continue to teach, despite the hurdles that keep getting higher.

  6. It is those children that leave footprints on our soul. Mine came from coaching. Makes life seem worth it, don't it?!

    Stopping by to wish you a Merry Christmas my friend. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  7. Wish there were teachers like you when I was in high school!

  8. Hi Tammy,
    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Here's to teachers who touch the lives of the kids in the back.

    And here's to kids in the back who recognize what it is to have a great teacher.



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