I recently got an email from a friend that was a reply to me saying that I didn't know how I was so exhausted from adding a 2-hour a day teaching job. She said that her guess is that I'm giving full-time in those two hours. In some ways, she's right. I mean, don't get my wrong, I love the part-time thing and am not sticking around until 3 pm to try to be more involved. However, I definitely do put almost as much time and energy into these kids as I would with kids who I had all day. In fact, coming from an elementary school background, I forget that these students actually have other teachers I realize that I don't teach them math and PE, but I forget that there are other adults who care about them (at least, I hope they do!) and monitor their study habits, care about their life, think about them, plan for them,etc.
This can obviously be a great thing or a highly unhealthy thing. Most of the time, I'd like to think it's the former. The students I've had in the past need someone to be concerned about them, pray for them, and be involved in their lives. (Most of these students do too.) And I really do feel like they're my kids to some extent. I think that they must know that, because I've had third graders ask me, "Will we still be 'your kids' when we're teenagers?" The answer, of course, is yes. If they want to be.
I think this connection with the kids is why I'm good at teaching. Teaching itself is not necessarily my gift. I mean, I'm good at it, but I don't have quite the excitement about breaking through on the understanding of a difficult lesson that many teachers do. I never had trouble with school (especially reading - I don't at all remember learning how to read) so I don't have empathy with students in that way. In fact, my first year of teaching, I had to keep stopping myself from saying, "What do you mean you don't know how to read?" But when it comes to connecting with the kids and letting them know that there is at least one adult out there who cares about them and thinks they're worth something... that, I can do well.