A word that takes us from never to maybe. From I don’t think it is is possible to wait it might happen.
We have all been given hope whether it was in our childhood in waiting for a promise to come true. In our teenage years, hoping we make varsity to that we studied hard enough to get that needed score on the ACT or SAT to hopefully making it into the school we have always seen ourselves at. Then came college and the hopes of our future.
As you can see, we all live with hope everyday, but it is the people behind us that tend to give us the hope we need. They are the driving force that keeps us believing in the hope. As adults we get that hope and internalize it and remind ourselves that we can persevere and keep going, keep working toward the goal, keep believing.
What about the kids in our rooms…
When I took my first job I did just that.. took my first job. I wish I would have known then what I know now. I wish I would have given the kids more hope, more compassion, more understanding.
Kids come into the school each day at 7:40. They head up the stairs to my room. They look to me to guide them through their days, but I guide them differently today than when those first students came in years ago.
Some students come into my room these day needing more than an education. They are needing HOPE. They need more than the ability to become fluent in their multiplication facts. They need to know that their is hope. Hope that they will get those facts. Hope that they will understand how to differentiate a noun, verb, adjective and adverb.
They need hope that it is going to be ok. That even if mom doesn’t come home it will all work out. That if dad doesn’t find a job soon they will still get to sleep in their room. That if mom can’t take care of them anymore that when they move to dad’s that they will meet new friends and their teacher will love them with all her heart.
That if the worst happens they still have HOPE….
There are so many ways that students walk into your room each and every day looking for hope in your eyes. Looking for a small bit of compassion through your words, actions, and tone. These things bring hope to kids. That fist bump in the hall says, “I remember.” That when you say you want to hear your story, but not right now that you go back and hear that story. That you will notice when they succeed at the small things in class and not just the “stuff” you as the teacher see as important. That when they work hard and finally get a passing score or even an A on your quiz or test you notice, because life has been hard so hard for them that the words, “I am proud of you!” mean for than winning the lottery. That you notice when they come into a the room with something new or different. That what they do matters. That relationship building with students is more than just that, it is the beginning of students believing they are more than a name in a grade book. That they matter to you. That you HOPE for the best for them!
Be the light of HOPE…
These may seem small. These may seem like an elementary thing… high school kids don’t need that. But that is where we are all wrong in education. All kids need hope just like we as adults need to hang onto hope, but we can’t do it alone and neither can they. They need us to be that Merchant of Hope, as Jimmy Casas speaks of in his book Culturize, in a world that likes to focus on the negative. They look to you because you spend the majority of their awake time with them. They need you to get it, as much as you want them to “get it” when you give them an assignment. They need you to understand, have some compassion that when you are teaching them that they want to do it but at that moment it might not be their biggest concern.
Give them the hope that it will work out. Give them the hope that no matter when and what the world throws at them that they can look to you and know that it is all going to be ok.
Always remember to look at the big picture…. Kids are just like teachers. We have good days and bad days. We have joys and sadness. We have to maneuver through it. Just like students. They only difference is that we were guided through the dark days by a Merchant of Hope our Champion. Be that Merchant of Hope,that champion for a student so 20 years from now they will remember that moment, smile, have HOPE and NEVER GIVE UP!