Tonight my teacher heart almost burst through my chest. A student from my very first class called me a few weeks ago and wanted to meet for lunch. During that lunch she invited me to a local beauty pageant (the Queen becomes the representative for a huge springtime festival) that she was competing in.
Tonight I watched a shy, gawking third grader turned into a poised, quietly-confident woman-child. She was magnificent. She was GORGEOUS. I was so incredibly proud to have known her when she was a little and to see how delightful she's become.
It's those connections that encourage me to get up and go to work, despite children breaking crayons on purpose, kicking crayons across the room, and breaking manipulatives. It's the hope that maybe I'm impacting one life, one tiny moment at a time, that keeps me going when I'm so frustrated by the bureaucracy, by the paperwork, by the stuff that has nothing to do with teaching.
Tonight, my heart was so full of teacher joy that I sat there with tears coursing down my cheeks, unable to contain them, because the invitation to see one of my former students, almost grown up, is worth every single bad day I've ever had in the classroom.