It’s funny, a new year, a new breath of fresh air, new initiatives.  This year has been just a writers block of a year for me, as I am sure many of you have had the same. Yet, I have noticed in myself a reserve of will I never knewI had.  I will tell you where I think that came and continues to come from, just like gushing oil, in a minute.  Within three weeks I have seen two amazing former students pass away suddenly, tragically, without a moment to even realize what happened until it was past – and the reverberation of this pain that hits you in the middle of well, everywhere, well it proves that time means nothing in the scheme of students that are brought into the fold of your family.

Funny thing, even as far back as my second teaching job, I would occasionally meet colleagues that would occasionally say, (not all would say this, just a select few) – “You spend way too much time with your students and not enough time in your job” – let me address this calmly – as I did hear this several times in the past week and this is of course my opinion, but has always been my view –

1) I would not have a “job” unless it was not FOR the students I think are amazing.

2)  I will never, ever, stop spending energy on the very reason I am still here today – students, and not just students, but my extended family in a weird sort of way since I already have 15 siblings, lol, they begin to be added to that number.  I would take a bullet, risk being fired, being criticized publicly, and so much more at the sake of not supporting any students I come into contact with.  That is my “thing”, my interest, my talent – meeting students halfway even when I have to tell them “No”, but still being there.

3) Anyone that knows me, really takes the time to KNOW me, knows, I will spend any extra time on any extra activity that requires it, if it means time is taken away from a task that is not done due to a student – need, I will ALWAYS – A L W A Y S go back and and finish a job, and finish it well, and better than anyone expects, just because, that was what my family taught me – and of course those that do not know me, and think they know me, well, it is easy to criticize when you don’t know.

4) I have begun to realize, if you believe in your students, and you know, not all students will think you are for them and many not until many years later – if you believe in them even after they leave your classroom, then you will not have their presence and opportunity to motivate them stop after they go on after you, I believe no good educator lets that be in vain.  You carry their will, they energy, and their potential into the next class, next month, and even the next year.  You risk and sacrifice pay, holidays, vacation, and precious time at the sake of your personal time, and your personal agendas to stand up as and educator and push them forward, then you later find that time to restore yourself.  Yet, if done right, their energy, spirit, and creativity will rush right back at you and fill you with a breath of energy that will outlast the largest serving of Red Bull, pasta on the eve of a run, and the largest pep rally that got you pumped than you could ever imagine.  THAT is the difference between an educator and a teacher, the BEING a educator rather than going through the motions of appearing a teacher.  Big difference.  to you Jeff Alfreide, this post is dedicated to the selfless spirit you showed on and off the track – the smile that crossed so many people’s days, that was as infectious as anything that could be positively infectious could be, and your unafraid and bold commitment to all things related to God was the reason you went on before others and forever were a winner in all that you did.  Your talent on the drums and in a jazz moment was unforgettable.  Your spirit – forever among us.  These are only some of the reasons you will continue to live on in our lives and we will never let others forget where our energy comes from, as it will continue to represent all the energy you ever brought to those that surrounded you.  Carry on my friend, and we know you will be winning every race you ever dreamed of.

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About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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