I’ve been nursing for almost 20 years and have never been able to find a specialty of nursing that I love until I showed up as a school nurse. Christmas after Christmas, holiday after holiday, weekends, evenings, nights, doubles, split shifts, on-call shifts, and extra shifts, I have worked them all. And now here I am…Nurse Kevin…school nurse for 1100 children (give or take a dozen). It’s pretty amazing to be able to walk up and down the halls and get hugs and high-fives as they cheer my name, “Nurse Kevin!!”
But please don’t think I am taking any credit. Though there is something to be said about the approval of children. Sure, we get “approval” from out peers, family members and strangers in the community. But getting the approval from a child…now there’s something to take to the bank. It’s going to be honest, straight-forward and without any artificial embellishments. We all know to whom most the credit should go to at any of the many school all across the nation…all across the WORLD!! I will say the credit goes to the teachers who work so hard for so “much!” No, I am not talking about a financial “much” either (I am sure y’all know that “much”).
What “much” do Teachers, School Nurses, Guidance Counselors, Coaches, Principles, Administrators, and the whole of the education powerhouse am I talking about?
We get “much” of the children…somebody else’s children. The mommas and daddies send their young ones off each morning at 6, 7, and 8 o’clock and get them back at 2, 3, and 4 o’clock each afternoon. Those children are with us for about 8 hours each day. Considering the time they are with their parents each week, that’s a HUGE chunk of time (not counting sleeping and other tasks).
We make “much” of an influence on the children we care for and teach. I had a child kick me in anger yesterday. I know this child well and knew he’d get over his anger soon. Then, he’d tear up and apologize. He wasn’t mad at me; he got mad even before he got to the office. When he did come back to the office to apologize, he reached out for a hug and said, “Sorry Nurse Kevin for kicking you.” I told him it was okay and that “we are usually the meanest to the people we love the most.” However, with that being said, actions do require equal reactions…thank goodness for our principal (punishment is not my forte’).
“We are meanest to the people we love the most”
We get “much” of the reward. There’s something wonderful about your child excelling in school. My 5th grader is a wiz-kid at reading and writing and is not too shabby at math either. I’m pretty proud of my little knucklehead. However, I have seen teachers in tears…happy tears…when their patient, compassionate and persistent instruction finally finds its place in a child’s mind. It’s that look the child gives when “they get it” that is so rewarding. It’s when they finally understand the concepts and the proverbial light bulb comes on. Paul Shaffer from the David Letterman show said, “the NUMBER ONE GOOD THING ABOUT TEACHING IS … The Light bulb moment!” “It’s at that point where you realized that everything is going to work out and that just ‘gets me’,” one teacher told me.
It’s the day before Christmas break here at our school (some call it winter break and that’s okay if you prefer (see my other blog for those topics)). Some of the children will leave today and go home to safe and secure home full of loving caring parents and guardians. Others…well…other children will go home to a life that you and I may never know. For those children, while they are with their teachers at school…everything is okay; they are safe and sound. Like I said before, “much” of the “credit goes to the teachers.” These are the women and men that have “much” fun while they do “much” work.
As I walk the halls of our schools, I like to peek into the classrooms (it’s a nursing thing*). I see teachers with smiles on their faces. Teachers are happy people. If teachers are happy and having fun, it’s likely the students are happy and having fun. There’s one thing that no one can ignore (except those folks that complain about all the ‘time off’ teachers get): there’s no way teachers have that much fun without being completely prepared. Teachers work hard in the classroom and they have to work hard outside the classroom as well. Because no one just shows up to put on an 8-hour “presentation” without having sacrificed “much” personal, behind-the-scenes time.
As the school nurse, I do enjoy “much” from the children. But it’s the teachers who deserve the “most!”
Merry Christmas…happy New Year’s and Happy Holidays (in case I missed a few).
*It’s a nursing thing – Watch the aged and experienced nurses walking the halls of the nursing home or hospital. As they walk their heads are turning left and right as they “put eyeballs” on every patient to make sure they are safe in their beds. They are the “Grey Gorillas” of nursing.
Santa Photos: Dressing up as Santa Clause was much fun for me. Passing out over 1100 peppermint suckers (see article here) and having children gather around was an awesome experience. I had a vice principal walk around the building with me and take photos. One child said in a more-common-than-not, doubtful tone, “Your not Santa! You’re the vice principal!”
I my best Santa voice I pointed at the vice principal and said, “Well then, who is that over there with the camera.”
The child turned and looked away. The expression on his face as he turned slowly to look back at me was absolutely priceless.
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