The Best Place to Be

A little over a year and a half ago I made a very big decision to completely switch careers.  I stayed within the horticulture industry, but went from working in a garden center to becoming a high school teacher.  It was my dream job.

Yes.  I’m crazy.  I know this.  I am aware that I spend the majority of my day around hormonal teenagers.

I love it.

Teenagers are the most amazing people in the world.  They are so full of potential.  They never cease to make me laugh.

Normally I don’t take sick days.  I take a few days in October, the day after each of our plant sales and maybe a few other days when I’m actually sick.  However, this semester I’ve taken far too many days off.  The natives were starting to get restless.  I had been gone 4 days in a row and came back to tell them I’d be out another day this week.  The look on one student’s face pretty much melted mine off.  

They’ve had enough of the substitutes.

Up until this point I had not told them about the cancer.  I didn’t want to scare them.  I didn’t want to worry them.  I didn’t want them to know until I knew more.

Yesterday was the day.  I did my best not to ruminate on it all weekend.  There was a plan in place.  One of the counselors would be on hand each class while I told them.  I did my best to be as open and honest as possible.  While I don’t have a strong connection to all of my students, I do have one to many.  I’ve advocated for students.  I built lifelong lovers of plants.  I’ve entertained.  We’ve laughed.  Yesterday some cried.

I will admit, it was difficult.  I didn’t know how they’d take it.  For the most part they were stunned silent.  After all was said and done and I sent them to the greenhouse to water their plants many came up to give me hugs.  They told me stories of how cancer affected their lives.  They told me they loved me.  I was stunned.

These kids are part of why I get up each day.  I could be having the worst morning ever, but spend one hour with these monkeys and it makes it all better.

In addition to telling the students, I sent an email home to the parents to let them know what was talked about today.  The response floored me.  I received so many emails from families offering support.  It never occurred to me that parents would do such a thing.

Finally, just so everyone was in the loop, as far as student care goes, my assistant principal forwarded my email to parents to the school staff.  The response there was amazing as well.  I received cards, emails and well wishes from my wonderful co-workers.

When I changed jobs I knew it was a good choice.  It made me happy.  It changed my life.  Now that I have to go through this there is no place I’d rather be.  The administration, both at my school and the district, have been so supportive.  I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Now if someone would just do my sub plans I’d be a really happy camper… 

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