Bring it on year 4 & other ramblings

There is something about walking in to a Target a week before school start. It's interesting for people watching, really. There are the little kids who are about to choose the color of their first folder, the high school students grabbing a bunch of simple college-ruled notebooks, the parents who frankly are grabbing WAY too much stuff and then, there's me.  

Looking at my cart, you could probably guess my personality. Or think that I have a middle school-aged daughter. What can I say, I have a thing for shiny notebooks. Plus I can never say no to a good pun or a cute succulent drawing. Also, way. too. many. flair. pens. But eh, I like them.

Even as a kid, back to school was my favourite time of the year. My mom always had her closet fully stocked with anything you could want: lined paper, glue sticks, funky pens and coloring pencils (the good kind). With the years, it has evolved a bit. Back to school started taking on a different meaning, still one of anticipation but mixed with a little ''OMG THE KIDS ARE COMING IN TWO DAYS, I'M NOT READY AND NOW I HAVE TO FILL OUT ALL THIS PAPERWORK AND MY CLASSROOM ISN'T SET UP''.

You know, classic back to school stream of consciousness. Nonetheless, I am excited to have my kids back. I looked at my roster, I smiled. Some new names to learn. Some friendly faces choosing French beyond their required two-years of language. Some ready to tackle on the challenge of an advanced program be it International Baccalaureate or Advance Placement.

As cliche as it is, '' the kids'' are the main reason I am still in the profession. I remember my very first in-service meeting in 2015, when us newbies were asked the eternal question: ''What brought you to education?''. I scrambled to come up with an answer. Did I ever even ask myself that question when choosing my major in college? Not really. See, I didn't choose education, it chose me in a weird way. I was on track to go to a prestigious journalism school and had a fair bit of contacts in the field. But, I was young and fearless. I wanted to travel the world and I thought committing to a highly competitive profession would certainly hold me back. However, I was good at explaining French and its complexities. I thought: ''hey why not try teaching? I could teach overseas and have two months off to travel the world!''. Education it was from then on, more or less as a means to an end rather than a true passion. 

- '' ... uh. the kids, the kids are why I teach.'' I mustered rapidly.

I thought that was an appropriate response to impress my new bosses. ''How cliché'' I told myself: kids can be quite a handful after all.

Three years later, I can say it loud and clear: the kids are why I am still teaching today. 

You need passion. You need fire. I had it all and I didn't know it at the time. It's no secret, no one goes into teaching for the fame and fortune. Yet, every year I have chosen to come back. That choice was easier to make certain years but the kids were always on the back of my mind. 

how they laugh at my jokes (or force themselves to),
how they correct my English (and are brutally honest about it),
how they have that light bulb moment (after I explained something for the 1000th time)
how they share their hopes and dreams (even those of having a career as a famous Youtuber)
how they trust me as an adult (that is highly proficient at speaking ''meme'')
It is how they keep me learning and growing as a person, that has me coming back for more every year. 

To my kids: (re) bienvenue.
To their parents: let's work together to make this year amazing
To my colleagues: godspeed!
To my friends: see you next June! (just kidding, I hope)