When I think of The Broach School in St Petersburg the first thing that comes to my mind is a huge and diverse family, one where anything and everything can and more than likely will be said and done. A family will not only seek the absolute best from each other, but they do so with a caring and loving spirit. As we all know at times families may seem rough around the edges, but behind the scenes we see, as all families do, that we are giving each other the chances to show just how much we grow. Think about that; just like your family, ours has grown and changed, often brought about through the general trials we all face, and most of us would say we have learned the most from the hardest of experiences.
From the top down, we approach the process of education with the knowledge that a child is not only learning, but also teaching us about how we ourselves aren’t perfect either, and we change as we learn just like they do. That is what it means to be a part of our family. One of the greatest joys I have seen is children who I have known for a very long time head off to work, and to college after we have helped them along the way. I cherish the fact that I get to watch the kids grow up through the years, because that is not truly seen in most schools. Take for example one of our seniors this year. I have had him in my class in one way or the other since third grade, and I have pride as he nears the end, knowing the struggles that he and his family have gone through to reach this milestone.
The truth is that many times we are the refuge of life for a lot of students, and that is only achieved by treating them more than just a number, or a name on roster for third period. The reality is we take the time to know the children on a personal level, and help guide them through life. It is a great moment to see children who never thought they could make it, gain belief that they are decent and kind people, who may not agree with everything we say or do, but grow into the men and women who will struggle and succeed because they have learned that it isn’t just their personal families that believe in them but also the teachers they have known for a long time.
Families listen to each other, and as a teacher I listen to my kids all the time and have even done some of the things that they advise. You can’t hide from children you see for seven hours out of a day; they know you just as well as you know them. This is done because I firmly believe as a family, everyone is valued – maybe not liked all the time, but truly valued as someone who is growing up and learning. (I am speaking about me). They have taught me to have a sense of humor, a sense of purpose, and pride. Life is always a learning experience and being a part of a family means you communicate and set standards to achieve success. To have more than just head knowledge is key to success in life, along with a huge support network. There is joy in being an intricate part of the experience, even as our hair grows white and worry lines appear. Yes, we shed tears because we truly value the people they are and are honored that parents entrust us to prepare them for life. We are even more honored when they come back and share their triumphs and say, “Thank you for believing in me.” That is what a family does.
Teacher – The Broach School, St Petersburg