Reversing the Poles on a Magnet

Just apply heat

It’s my 4th and final year at this inner city school in Charlotte, NC. I have spent many days thinking about how far I’ve come. I said 4 years ago that I wanted to be a survivor. Even more, I wanted to thrive. It hasn’t really felt like thriving, but today, especially, it hit me how much things have changed. The changes have been subtle, yet the end result is quite drastic.
In the previous 3 years, I have had chairs thrown at me, I’ve been called a rainbow of inflammatory names, have had to hide tears from students, and, at times, have openly cried in front of students. I’ve had my phone stolen, I’ve had students throw my water bottle in the trash, steal pens and money out of my pockets, and throw paper at me and, at one point, gum.
But on Friday, I stood at the bus parking lot to monitor kids and in that time I had 2 first graders come and lean their heads on my stomach and hold onto me until their bus came. Another little one came to hug my leg. Then, as the middle schoolers came out for their buses, I had one of my current students lay her head on my back. And two of my previous students come to hug me goodbye for the weekend. More came and soon I had students of all ages clumping around me to talk, joke with me, hug me, or hang onto me for guidance.
If you’ve ever put a magnet in a dish with metal shavings, you might have an idea of what this was like.
bar-magnet-with-iron-filings

That’s me dressed in red.

2 years ago, I had a nightmare about being haunted by my most troubling class of students. In my sleep, they disrupted my classroom like poltergeists, clanging metal and calling out over my instruction.
Now my biggest issue is being haunted by my last batch of students who keep coming into my room on their bathroom breaks to say “hi.” They interrupt my class to ask me corny jokes with pun-tastic answers. They come by to try to sneak attack me with a hug and ask if they can come back to 6th grade and be a part of my class again. Sometimes they just slip into my room and try to blend in with my current class.
My first class at this school made bets on how fast they could make me quit. Now I have students who want me to tell them which class I like more and if I’ll stay forever.
Unfortunately, I can’t stay forever. Next year, the district will split the school into two and I will be forced to go elsewhere (I don’t know where, yet). But God, in his infinite kindness, has decided to make this last year a sweet blessing to me, with kids who leave sweet notes and gifts on my desk instead of taking things from my desk.
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