Busy but Blessed

I don’t teach to coach, like some do. I don’t coach to teach, like others must do.

I have simply found coaching to be one of the greatest blessings of teaching. Although I often rant and rave and stress and worry about the two activities I coach: the ASB class of 2013 and the school newspaper, I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to work with these kids for anything. This last week has been a prime example of the two-sided nature of coaching: banquets.

Banquets are a lot of work: gift shopping, card writing, restaurant arranging, etc etc. But, more than anything banquets are a unique time to simply celebrate the family that has come into being. On Monday, I got to celebrate the lives of some amazing students in ASB. Our little family started this summer at a beachhouse retreat in Newport. Not bad, right? From then on out, those 30 some-odd kids, their director, and 7 other class advisors and myself have become a little community of leadership. I have loved seeing these students take on new responsibilities, love and lead their peers, and I have so enjoyed being affectionately nicknamed “Auntie Loh.” I have loved the dance practices, the rally routines, and the Christmas party. Yes, this comes at the cost of fundraising and meetings, and failed attempts to fundraise, but if learning happens, and I think it does, then it is all worth it.

Tonight, I partied with my newspaper class at the California Pizza Kitchen. I love these kids. SO MUCH. The inside jokes, the gifts, the laughs, the pride in a product well done, my little teacher heart is full. This year, the kids annual advisor gift to me was two-fold: a Starbucks mug inscribed with all my collected “Lohmanisms” from the year with a gift card inside, and an artistically decorated card. The card was no ordinary creation, however. It was plastered in animal print and said “Wild Thing” inside and was also covered in facebook pictures the kids jacked and wrote their own captions for. Quite clever. Quite embarrassing. But really, quite endearing. Oh, how I will miss this group of seniors. I eavesdrop on their conversations, they have nicknamed my dog (who my roommate graciously brought for show and tell mid-dinner), and I have watched them get accepted into the colleges of their dreams. I have been astounded by their leadership and awed by their intellect and orginality. There’s simply no replacing them. And so, yes, while deadlines frustrate me, and procrastination often irritates, and students’ lack of responsibility and perfectionism often rubs their OCD teacher the wrong way, I love being their newspaper advisor. I love getting to watch them grow and I understand the humongous privilege I have of getting to spend so many countless hours with them as they work, play, and learn.

And so, on weeks like tonight, I am heavy, burdened with work, but also filled to the top. It’s why I teach. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but it is worth it. Always.

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