51: A Mother’s Day Gift

51: A Mother’s Day Gift

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Teachers

A Mother’s Day Gift

The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.

~Pierre Corneille

As a first year middle-school teacher, I often felt like the old woman who lived in a shoe. Remember her? She was the one who had so many children that she didn’t know what to do.

My first year of teaching was an emotionally exhausting job with few rewards. I was young, inexperienced, and had class after class of twenty kids just waiting for me to make a mistake.

After a particularly long night of going to graduate school, grading papers and thinking about how many weeks I had left until I could breathe, I had one of those mornings when I began to question my job choice. I had become a teacher to help kids. Instead, I felt like I couldn’t even help myself anymore, and I was so tired. It had just been Mother’s Day, and as I sat at my desk surrounded by lesson plans, I wondered how I would ever have enough energy to have children of my own, much less continue teaching.

That was when I heard a knock at my door. One of my students came in — the too-cool-for-school, basketball-playing country boy who had accidentally broken my favorite snow globe and become one reason why I couldn’t display nice things in my classroom. He shyly handed me a large flower that probably came from his family’s farm. He had stuck a bird feather in it.

“I got you a Mother’s Day gift,” he said. Most middle school and high school teachers don’t receive presents. Christmas and Teacher Appreciation Day had already come and gone without any gifts. I was so shocked that I just stared.

Flustered by my silence, he said, “You know… since you are like a mother to us and all that, I thought you should get a present, too.”

I smiled and told him he was the sweetest person in the entire world, and I just loved it. Based on his smile, I knew that I had done an adequate job of making him feel quite proud of himself. What possessed that twelve-year-old to bring me a homemade present, I’ll never know. Once he left the room, I locked the door. And I cried. That moment took me through the rest of the school year and several more.

~Jessica McIntosh-Brockinton

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