Not just a job

Posted by Debby on 14th March and posted in EDC 639

Teaching is a calling, not just a job. It’s a way of life, a way of looking at things, a way of relating to the people around you. It’s who I am and what I do. It’s what makes me constantly strive to do better and to reach farther. It gives me powerful mentoring opportunities like the one I had last night.

Every semester I get excited because as I look over the fresh new faces, I know that a few of them will become special friends, not just students getting a grade. It has happened every semester I have taught college classes. This semester there was a student in my web design class that I just knew was going to be one of those. We have developed a friendship over the last several weeks based on his interest in learning more about web design and the fact that he has a daughter about the same age as one of mine. He is young, early twenties, and fits right in with the rest of the “groupies”, as my computer geek students like to call themselves.
We have had many opportunities to talk in and out of class, in my office, and online, and it has become somewhat of a mentoring situation. I could sense that something was not quite right in his life, but I didn’t ask. I figured it was up to him to tell me if he wanted to. He did tell me that he felt comfortable “hanging out” in my office and the help desk office I oversee next door, and I am glad for that. I guess that is what opened the door for yesterday.
He IMd me yesterday and asked if I was available to talk in my office. A little while later when he came, I could tell something was really weighing heavy on his mind. We talked for a very long time and I realized just how heavy his burden is right now. I just wanted to reach out and tell him it was all going to be ok, but he has some tough choices to make. I promised to be his friend and to do what I could to help him. I gave him a big hug so he would know that I knew he was ok.
In the back of my mind, I kept wondering if I could even make a difference. But you know what, I can. If what I do gives him motivation to get up and come to school, to seek solutions, to carry on, then it is worth it. Sometimes being a teacher or being a mentor means showing someone that there are options and doors they can open. Something is drawing me in and telling me that there is something I can do here. I wondered if I could even handle another straw on my back right now, but the more I thought about it, I realized that it helped give me focus. This whole week has been psychologically awful and it’s been hard to pull myself out of the funk. Being able to focus on someone else who has issues much deeper than mine makes me realize how blessed I am.
I think this will be a mentoring relationship that will test the Tao. Time to pull the book out and read through it once more.

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