We Carry the Words

Tonight, as I sit quietly processing a moment where a student shared their fragile truth with me.  The moment when a child sat silently watching as I read their words, breath held to see how I would react, and all I could think was how very grateful I was for their trust, their truth, their faith in me as their teacher, as an adult in their life to carry the words they had chosen to share.  I thought of this post, now written 5 years ago and yet ever so true in my heart.  We may feel like we carry our students’ dreams into the world, we may feel we carry their words with us, but it is not just their words we take with us when they leave us.  It is their truth.  We protect it, we support it, and we carry it with us long after their final goodbyes and the summer vreeze settles in.  I am so grateful for the very job that I get to do every single day.

The shuffled movement, the slight look possibly from the left, a small gesture to be noticed. “Ummm, Mrs. Ripp can I have lunch with you?” Oh shoot, there goes that extra prep, but yes, absolutely yes, let’s have lunch. Over food the words come tumbling like a bottle with it’s cork pulled. Didn’t even have to ask a question, they just spill out and out, away from this student, this trusting student that needs someone to carry the weight of the world with them. It is not new, not shocking, but every day life, every day fears, every day needs of wanting bigger, better, more. And yet here, it means the world.

We carry those words.

Another morning, a moment, a need for a hug and then a drawing shown. “Do you think I can make it, Mrs. Ripp?” “Of course, you can, just dream and work toward it,” is what I say but what I think tells more… Work hard, little child, don’t believe those people who will try to steal your dream. Don’t believe those people that tell you you are not smart, that you will not amount to anything. Don’t listen when they make you angry, or when they make you cry. Dream, dream on, dream strong.

We carry those dreams.

At the end of the day, a mad rush, backpacks on, cubbies emptied, and one last, “Thank you for coming.” I mean it too, thank you for being here, for sharing your day with me. For sticking with me when my voice got tired, or my explanation made no sense. For listening when I should have been quiet, for raising your hand patiently and waiting your turn even though you were really, really excited. Thank you for laughing, for thinking, for creating, and trying. Thank you for believing and caring, for trusting and loving, because that’s what it is; trust and love and hope and hard work, every single day.

And within the words they share.  Within the dreams they hold.  Within the hushed conversations and quiet moments, I realize that it is not just me that carries something, or even just the other adults.  But all fo us as we protect the fragile relationship that exists within  our 4 walls.  And when they leave us on the last day of the year all we can do is hope that we have given them enough strength to keep on, to still dream, to still trust.  And in the end, we were not the only ones that carried, fore they carried us too.

If you like what you read here, consider reading my book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students.  Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.

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