Tales of the Fourth Grade Blessings

The first week of school is winding down and I am utterly
exhausted. My feet hurt and my head continues to ache as I try to wrap my mind around 10 new policies/technologies my district has
adopted. I am still trying to remember how to log into our new attendance
program, and this week’s headline in my mind reads, “Are you overwhelmed yet?” I
am fully aware that I am not alone in my feelings of exhaustion, and being a
sixth year teacher, I completely understand that the first week is always a
little rough. I also realize that it truly can be difficult to remain positive
when a lot of negativity surrounds education today, and handling the additional
pressure of changes and issues in my local school and district this year is also a little challenging.

 Its only Wednesday, so I decide
to reminisce about former years of teaching and former students that have
brought me joy in the past, hoping my reminiscing will do the trick in keeping
me upbeat. I think about one particular student I had a few years ago. We all
have that ONE…you know… that one student… that ONE student every year that is
extra special in our hearts. Maybe it’s the student that requires a special
little office space near your desk, or maybe it’s the student you are in
constant communication with his or her parents that they save a seat for you at
Thanksgiving dinner, or maybe it’s the student that you know gets the most
parenting and guidance from you as his teacher than he does at home. We all
have that ONE student every year. 

 I thought about that ONE I had a few years
ago…. imagine Junie B. Jones,
the main character from the Junie B. Jones Series by Barbara Park.
Well…I had the real life version of Junie B. in my class a few years ago. She
was a second grader who pulled me aside one day and said “Ms. Diaz sometimes I
just think no one understands me.”  She played by herself as recess and frequently felt like she didn’t
have any friends. I will never forget her and I will never forget those words
coming from a seven-year-old child. I now teach fourth grade and she is a fifth
grader at a different school. I pray that she has embraced her uniqueness and
realizes that being different is a remarkable gift. She was a blessing and gift
to me that year. She was my ONE. I loved teaching her even despite the many challenges
I faced that year. 

This week has been difficult and challenging in more ways
than one. TEACHING is difficult in more ways than one. As I am writing this, I
realize I have given myself the pep talk that I needed. That ONE student keeps
me grounded. Thinking about her and other former students inspire me this year to
be not just a good teacher but a GREAT teacher for not just ONE student but for
every one of my fourth grade blessings. 


Annie Diaz

Annie Diaz

Buckeye, Arizona

I teach fourth grade in the greater west valley of Phoenix. I am not one of those who have known since I was a little girl that I wanted to be a teacher. My parents aren’t in education so I couldn’t follow their footsteps. I don’t even remember many teachers from my childhood. Who inspired me to choose this profession? Well… I have two boys whom I love more than anything in the world. They are students in the 21st century.

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