So there I was, last night, laying in my bed at 12:26 a.m., and as many know, way past my bedtime. I’ve been wanting to start a blog for awhile now, a little over a year, and I’ve attempted to but I just haven’t found a solid foundation of what the theme of my blog should be. I want to write about so many different things:
- Being single
- Being a Christian single
- Living in a town where your closest family is about 7 hours away
Lots of things. I suppose life in general. I’ve actually always wanted to write a book but I figured no one would be interested in my life. But I’ve always felt like I’ve had a lot to say.
So let me just start with something that involves a few of those things all in one. It’s a memory I have from my second year of teaching. My mom always told me, “Kristen, you should keep a diary of all the things that happen to you while teaching.” I’d love to. But I don’t have much time to sit down and write. Thankfully, right now it’s summertime, and I’m bored out of my mind so this one goes out to you, Mama Dolenator!
In my second year of teaching, which was definitely one of my favorite years so far (in my veteran four year teaching status, going on five), I watched an inspirational video about teaching. Well I took a little something from that video and decided to give it a try.
What did I do? I’ll get to that in a minute. First I have to tell you what I saw and heard a student say.
So there I was… (I tend to start awesome stories with that phrase, I picked that up from one of my lit professors in college, Dr. Pearce). Anyways, SO THERE I WAS…
It was probably the second month of school and the day was over. I was walking through the hallway and I saw some students in the library for Math Club. I saw one of my students, EG (I’ll just use initials to be on the safe side), sitting at a table in the library, doing the math work, or what looked like math work anyways. This student, she was a pretty popular student. Well I saw her sitting there, and then I heard EG say to another female student who was standing up looking for somewhere to sit, “Hey you can sit with me.” I don’t remember who the student was that didn’t have a place to sit but I do remember I was in awe because that student wasn’t somebody that was very social, she probably would’ve sat alone had EG not invited her to sit by her.
It sounds simple, but this kind gesture was one of the nicest things I’ve ever seen a student do. Especially someone like EG. A student who was popular and often misunderstood, and who had a history at her previous school of getting into trouble.
So that’s when I decided to bust out my move from the inspirational video I had watched. I went back to my computer in my classroom, and looked up the student’s home phone number and attempted to call home to tell her parents that I’d seen her daughter do something so noble. Well when I called no one answered. So what did I do?
I drove to her house. I remember walking up the driveway planning in my head what I was going to say about EG. I knocked on the door and my student’s dad answered. I extended my hand and I said, “Hi, I’m Ms. Dolen, your daughter’s Language Arts teacher.”
He shook my hand and gave me a confused look. And without hesitation he asked me, “What did she do? Is she in trouble?”
I looked at him and smiled and said, “Oh, no no no no! I just wanted to tell you that I saw your daughter do one of the nicest things today. There was a girl who didn’t have anywhere to sit and she invited her to sit at her table.”
He looked at me in shock and couldn’t believe that his daughter would do something like that! And shame on me, but I didn’t see it coming either because a couple weeks prior to this I had to stop a typical-teenager girl spat that involved his daughter.
Well we stood outside talking for a few minutes and he was sharing some concerns about his daughter, and then EG came home. She saw me standing on her porch and even she was confused as to why I was there. Her father and I actually played a trick on her and said she was in trouble, but then we told her the truth. J
They invited me inside and I got to sit down and talk with them for a little bit.
Looking back, a few years later now, it’s true what they say, you know… on those cute little teachery-quote signs: “They might not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.” That’s part of why I became a teacher, I had some great teachers and coaches that made me feel great.
Well, the next year, her 8th grade year, I got to coach her in basketball. The summer before her freshman year (last summer, the summer of 2013), I’ll never forget the morning she texted me and asked me if I would come over to her house with my Bible and talk to her about God. To this day she still talks to me on a pretty regular basis whether for advice or just to talk. I was nervous for her to go to high school but she matured quite a bit and it’s been awesome watching that.
So if you were to takeaway something from this memory hopefully it’s one of these things:
- If you’re a parent: Don’t underestimate your child. They will surprise you and do and say things that seem unnatural. Not every phone call (or home visit) is a bad thing! Will they make mistakes? Yes. Will they disappoint you? Yes. But there is STILL good in this world! There is STILL hope!
- If you’re a teenager: Do something nice for someone! I bet that girl that got invited to sit down felt wanted. And also, be aware that people are watching and listening to you. Hearing and seeing that happen reminded me of part of the reason as to why I got into teaching.
- If you’re a teacher: Praise, praise, praise. Don’t be afraid to compliment a student to their parent whether it’s via email, phone call, or a home visit. It will probably make the parent’s day AND the student’s day.
So this was my first official blog post. It was kind of all over the place, but I promise it made sense inside of my massive brain. I’m still not sure where this blog is going to take me but I’m excited for the journey.
To the people who ask me, “How do you get to talk about God and share your faith with students?”
Pray for your students.
God will provide a way.
God will open doors.
Until next time…