Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Mom and Aunt: The Best Teachers I've Ever Had

Today being Mother's Day, I cannot help but stop to reflect on my mother and the women who mean the most to me in my life. At the top of this list, of course, is my Aunt Ellen, who is continuing to fight her battle with terminal cancer and will soon pass away to the next life.

Over the past year and especially the last few months, my family has been consumed with a range of rollercoaster emotions surrounding Ellen. We completed her "bucket list" and tried to make as many fun, happy, and unforgettable moments as possible for her. We laughed, we cried, and most importantly, we cherished the time we had left together. As I mentioned in a post last month, Ellen has always been like a second mom to me in addition to a close friend, confidant, godmother, and one of the toughest, strongest, and most resilient women I have had the honor of knowing. I feel beyond blessed to have had her as such an instrumental part of my life, basically since the day I was born.

While I do not have the privilege of having any siblings of my own, I have been humbled to witness one of the most pure bonds of all in my mom and aunt: sisterhood. For the past three weeks, my mom has been the primary caregiver to my aunt at Hospice, tending to her every need and want in anyway she can. Whether it is leading her to the bathroom, holding her up in bed, feeding her her favorite custard, or combing her hair for hours on end, my mom is constantly at Ellen's side. She tells me she would have it no other way, and I truly believe that. The courage, inner strength, and pure love my mom has shown her own sister is a model for how I want to lead my life and show my love to those who matter most, especially at life's most fragile and unpredictable moments.

Ellen has always been a model for selflessness, generosity, kindness, and love, and now my mom -- in the most tender and precious of ways -- is able to return the favor. Even though I said my goodbyes to Ellen last month, her losing battle to cancer is always at the forefront of my mind. I wish there was more I could do to help ease her pain, make her smile, or be there physically for her (She is in Maine). I cannot leave my life here, though, so I do all I can to be there emotionally for my mom and show Ellen love in the form of phone calls, letters, cards, etc. It is often the little things that can hopefully make a big difference, and I know Ellen understands why I cannot be up North with her more.

How does any of this relate to my classroom teaching, you ask? Simple. I am a better person having known my Aunt Ellen and mother, and I aim to help instill the values they taught me early on in my students every day. My mom and aunt's undying love, hope, courage, wisdom, passion, zest for life, and willingness to persevere through adversity has inspired me to be the best person I can be, both in and out of the classroom. Both women have taught me what really matters in life -- family, love, health, personal well-being, and kindness -- and I aim to live these values and lead by example every day for my students.

As Ellen prepares to make the final transition from life to death, I continue to be in awe of her passion, optimism, and love of life. Physically, there is nothing left to her; the doctors call her a "medical miracle." Still, her mind is still so clear and sharp. She is not yet willing to leave the ones she love, and I can honestly say we are not either, even though we want her to be out of pain and at eternal peace.

I hope and pray that Ellen may find everlasting peace and happiness in the afterlife very soon. I hope to make her proud of me and aim to honor her legacy in all aspects of my life, especially as a daughter, wife, friend, teacher, and one day, a mother. Ellen exemplifies what life is really all about and what really matters at the end of the day. I could not ask for better role models in her or my mom. I only hope that my life and teaching makes them proud -- and that Ellen can look down from heaven and smile at what she sees me doing.

1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing tribute come from a long line of spirited, resilient, strong women-you are carrying the torch onward. Much love to you, Mrs. T, and Ellen <3