Things My Students Say

“When did you find out? Last week?”

I smile. I am standing in front of a room full of students just before the bell rings.

“July,” I say, evening out the stack of papers in front of me.

“What?!” There is consternation on their faces.

“Why did you wait so long to tell us?” one girl asks.

[this former two-year-old can’t wait to teach her two-year-old how to garden]
When I say the word “baby,” I’m not sure how they’ll react. I’ve taught some of these students for four years, off and on. Sometimes I feel like I’m a bad habit they can’t shake — I chase them from Latin to English and back again. Part of me thinks they won’t care. What does it matter to them, anyway? Apart from an eight-week substitute and perhaps a less-energetic Ms. Hawkins Knell, not much will change for them.

But this morning when I got dressed, I looked in the mirror and thought: It’s time.

There are things you wait for patiently, the time smoothly running as you go about life. I’m not quite sure I know what those things are; they’re few and far between for me.

I wait with anticipation. I wait with a leaning-forward.

Waiting for this baby is different from any other waiting I’ve ever done. On the one hand, I want the day to come tomorrow. On the other, I push it as far away as possible. This waiting is filled with curiosity (who will she look like? what will he enjoy? will she laugh like me? will he have Gabe’s eyes?), fear (WHAT AM I DOING? can I actually handle this? HELP.), excitement (I can’t wait to show the baby the world! share all the things I love! build our family and its culture and its ways!) and doubt (I am not the person to do this).

Along with my excitement, there is so much to process, think about, worry about, freak out about.

One thing I love about my students is they didn’t express any of these things.

They expressed joy.

[I originally bought this as a joke with a student I worked with over the summer. Now, it’s feeling like a not-joke to myself.]
Here were some other gems from the day:

“Can I hug you, Miss Hawkins?”

“Now you can’t drink coffee!!” (I assured him I could, indeed, have one caffeinated cup and some decaf.)

“You have to eat so healthy now.” (Later at lunch, this student walked by me with a twinkle in his eye, nodded at my red pepper dipped in hummus, and said, “Good job.”)

“You’ll have to go to the bathroom all the time!” (This one surprised me — must have experience with pregnancy.)


14 Replies to “Things My Students Say”

  1. Love this. Thanks for sharing this with your blog lovers through the lens of telling your students. What a joyful matter this is! Those of us who love you see much beauty and learning coming your way.

    1. Thanks, Hannah. I’m excited about the learning and change, too. Thank you for walking through this with me 🙂

  2. Your students are great!! Lead with the joy!! Congrats to you and Gabe on this wonderful journey! You will be awesome parents!

  3. Really thrilled to hear this news! Congrats to the both of you. [And also – how is this possible? You will forever be 16 in my mind…]

    1. Thank you, Vanessa! I know, I’m sure we all have stayed young in your mind. I totally get that now that I’m teaching!

  4. If I remember correctly you were very bossy at 2 good luck with that. Make sure you follow her/his directions as at 2 they will know best.

    1. Pretty sure you do remember correctly. I’m actually looking forward to being told all the answers to life’s questions 🙂

  5. Sweet, Precious Granddaughter…..
    God Bless you both! This is such an exciting time! I can not put into words the excitement that jolted through me when Gabe share this blessed news!
    Love you both (and that amazing being that you have created!)❤️
    Grandma Sandra

  6. What a joy to read this Catherine. It is LONG time that we had dinner. Name the day, and we’ll make it happen. So, so excited for you.

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