**Today’s Blog Post written by Lonestar Dance Center instructor Kolbey Gonzales.
After the work day is all said and done, most people go home to relax, cook dinner, spend time with loved ones, and empty their mind from experiences that happened throughout the day. When it comes to educators- the end of our day doesn’t exactly fall into that description. At the end of my day, I find myself driving home and immediately thinking about my kids. I sit and ponder to myself, “What could I have done better today?,” “Was he or she okay?,” “Did I give my best?”, “I wonder what they thought about my lesson?” There are so many questions that I ask myself concerning the children that I teach and it never stops.
As an educator you don’t come home and shut your brain off. Believe me, there are so many times I wish I could do that. It’s such a blessing in disguise that I can’t though, because at the end of the day, the kids that walk in and out of my classroom are so important to me. I consistently want to be my best for them. When I come home, I take the time to say hello to my boyfriend and our dog, cook dinner (if he hasn’t already), and jump back into work. I’ll tell him stories that happened during my classes, cut music, look for recital or competition costumes, and figure out what I plan to do the next day. It seriously never stops. I honestly get so tickled at myself when I go shopping for makeup and remember that one of my students likes a certain eyeshadow palate that she showed me on her phone, or when I see something bright pink I casually think, “Oh, she would love this!” I know one of my students loves when I wear highlighter on my cheekbones, so I’ll throw some on to see if she notices, and it almost turns into a game.
It’s the small things like this that makes being a teacher so special. Not only are you putting your skill to use by teaching, but at the end of the day your kids end up teaching you just a little bit more- in such an extraordinary way. There are days when I walk out of the studio and think, “Man I nailed that lesson plan today!” But after slowly reconsidering my boastfulness, I think again “was it me, or my students who brought it the extra mile?” I don’t think there are enough words to describe what it’s like being a dance educator, or an educator period. Every day is a different day and like Forrest Gump himself said, “You never know what you’re going to get.” That’s what makes what we do so amazing, and we have so much potential to change a child’s life. Just like our former teachers did for us; ultimately they were the reason we wanted to pick such an honorable career.
Being an educator isn’t about having summers off, school vacation scheduling, or even the perk of a stable job choice. It’s about making a difference not only for the kids that you see daily, but for yourself. Sure, there are days you won’t be thanked, days you’ll wonder if you’re in the right profession, and days that you feel like giving up. When that happens, think of the child you could possibly be letting down. As teachers, our attitude is a direct reflection of our classroom and all it takes is one negative comment to turn a hard working kid into one who doesn’t care. So at the end of the day, the best thing to do is remember they are JUST kids. They may be going through some things that we will never understand or ever know about. They will forgive you, as long as you forgive them because every day is a new day for opportunity. An opportunity for enlightenment, that “Ah, hah” moment, or when you get to see pure excitement and passion written all over your kiddos faces when they finally understand, or excel at something. At the end of the day, think of those moments and realize that what we are doing now isn’t just some temporary affair. We are establishing values and characteristics of good people that can be exerted for a lifetime. So think, at the end of the day how do you want to be remembered by the kids, who you remember constantly?