This week you guys spent two class days typing your short stories. I have a confession. I walked out of school on Friday and completely forgot to grab your stories to grade.
I considered turning back to go get them, but I was afraid I would set off the school alarm. Plus, if I am being completely honest, I had seen the weekend weather forecast. Like you guys, I wanted to go to a high school football game too. I also wanted to enjoy my children at the pumpkin path rather than staying indoors all weekend grading. This is the balancing act of a teacher: loving other people's children and sacrificing for them without jeopardizing the allegiance and devotion you have to your own children. Even after fifteen years, I still struggle with this battle, but I am keenly aware that at the end of my career, I do not want to look back and realize I poured into other people's children at the expense of my own. So, yes, this weekend I chose the pumpkin patch, and I have no regrets.
Please do not misunderstand. Your short stories are also very important to me. I was so excited to read your topics and introductions last weekend, and I promise I will spend a great deal of time grading this homecoming week and next weekend too. When I do, I know I will be transported to your worlds and remember when I was fourteen and had an English teacher who took the time to read my short story, tell me it was something special, and set my life on a path to do the same for others.
And here is my pledge as well, while I am remembering, I will try to recall that at 14 I had not read as many novels as I have now. My grammar skills were still developing. My vocabulary was limited, and my experiences were minimal.
This does not mean I will set the bar low because my expectations are always high, very high, but it does mean I will aim to be gracious and encouraging, as I realize you all are still very much developing in your abilities. It also means while I am grading, you can bet I am going to be looking for the best pumpkin in the patch to put on display. I sure hope it is yours.