Four years ago that all changed when I came to work under an educator who loves ALL children: rich, poor, good, not so good, argumentative, silent, loved, unloved, girl, or boy. This occurred because I did not like my self-imposed early retirement....I missed the children, I had never done anything professionally but teach, and I simply wanted to return to the school setting. Fortunately, our county superintendent felt I still had something to offer and rehired me to be an SMR/ Student Management Room teacher or is simpler terms, the in-school suspension teacher. Well, I love it! I can finally be an advocate for those middle school children who do not, for whatever reason, have the skills or the desire to sit in a classroom quietly and attentively. I have no lesson plans to write, no faculty meetings to attend, no papers to grade, and no grades to average. All I have to do is be there for my kids and treat them as I would want them to treat me...and LISTEN.
Our little school sits way out in the county nestled on a hill and surrounded by a majestic panorama of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. It is a small, up close and personal little place steered by a principal who is very kind to the children, his staff, and me. He makes me laugh when I am down and teases me when I’m up, but everyday, all day, he is there for me and my little family of dysfunctional, unhappy, frustrated, sometimes unloved, and many times emotionally crippled 12-16 year olds. He accepts them as they are with unconditional love and respect. He listens to their stories while at the same time only speaking when the time is right to help guild them to where they can see and understand the wrongs of their behaviors. The children appreciate what he does for them and are very fond of him. They need him. Working side by side with such an honorable man has been a wonderful opportunity for me. Some of the days have been rough, terribly frustrating, and stressful, but having him there to support me in what I am trying to do makes it all O.K. He’s shown me so many kindnesses and respect. Because of him and his vision for education, I will finally be able to REALLY retire before too long with a great big smile on my face and a banner flying from my back of my car as I drive out of the parking lot saying.....THANK YOU, MR. PRINCIPA ! Yes, you and your little red brick schoolhouse out in the middle of the countryside are my Blessing #11.
“I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.”