If there's anything I realized, it's that my one true love may just be teaching. I love that spark in the students' eyes when they understand something for the first time, and I live for that sudden recognition, that sudden epiphany. It beats anything else to know that I can transfer my knowledge from my brain to someone else's. When I'm going around to the tables, one by one, seeing them mix colors for the first time, with primaries to make secondaries, that is my true pride.
There are times when I feel as if I'm learning more from my students than they are from me. In that neighborhood, there are two major gangs–one with the color of blue and the other with red. These gangs are notorious for violence, and due to this, the elementary school I work in often has code-reds whenever word gets out one of those gangs may be nearing. These kids know what gangs are!–at such a young age, too. I probably didn't even know such atrocities existed until the fifth grade. But to these kids, the mere colors of red and blue are a daily reminder of violence and crime.
And yet, despite this, these first graders still manage to rise above that. One of my students expressed to me how proud of his older brother he was. Why? Because his brother joined an anti-gang movement promoting peace in the neighborhood. It dawned onto me then that people everywhere are all the same. We must all be good, save for the minority of innate criminal minds. Because if we all didn't have morals, how could one explain the fact that in such a poor neighborhood, kids still manage to grow and be nurtured with the right values? It is a phenomenon to me that people really do believe in good. And as a teacher, I want to continue to promote that idea of peace throughout the school.
Article by Kathleen Xue