Title – Second Mom
By – Sandra Stiles
Recently I had the privilege of meeting a former student, “Jeanie,” for lunch. She had been one of my sixth grade students. She was preparing for a career as a pediatric oncologist. I was very pleased to accept her offer to meet for lunch while she was in town for the summer before the start of her senior year. Before she had moved away, I had been asked to speak at her batmitzpah as someone who had been a motivator. I spoke telling the crowd gathered that she was a constant blessing and encouragement to me. I shared my experiences with her each of the following years with my new sixth grade students. She was an awesome example of a motivated child that had come from a family with some problems. When we finally met, she told me that the thing that made the biggest difference in her life and made me her favorite teacher was the speech I gave every year. I tell my students that when they wake each morning and come to school, they spend six to seven hours with me, which is usually more time than they spend with their parents. They may be in the same house with them, but that does not mean that they spend time with them. After all, they are busy with homework, outdoor time, TV time, phone time, etc. I told them that they should therefore think of me as their mom away from home. My job was to teach them, comfort them, encourage them, and yes discipline them as needed. However, my most important job was to love them so that they could put away all other thoughts and prepare to learn. I have no losers in my class. They should therefore consider me their mom away from home. Over the years many of my students slip up and call me mom in the classroom. I tell them that is alright because they I love them all as if they are my own and consider it an honor.
Over lunch, “Jeanie” asked if she could have the honor of calling me “Mom”, because over the years I have always been a second mom to her. She said she has heard from many friends and this is what they all remember about me: that I was not only their teacher, but their mom; someone to comfort them, guide them and teach them.
We as teachers must remember our jobs do not stop when we have taught the required curriculum, but that is where it begins. I switched jobs this year and my students made a banner that said, “Mrs. Stiles – Our Mom”. They have called me, emailed me and written me all summer. I feel blessed to have such an extended family.