Today our after school program started. I’ve been waiting weeks for this day to come. Between working at churches and schools, I can now say that I’ve worked with kids 0-18 years old. I thought I wanted to work with the older ones, to intercept the, at a time in life where they’re making big decisions about the future and figuring what this thing called life is all about. but maybe I was wrong about that.  Now, I’m with kids who are still a little too young to believe that the world is evil, who do not understand the complexity of the issues we face. Sure, they still hit and kick each other and throw things when they’re not supposed to, but they’re real.

They’re real about their struggles, their joys, their aches, pains, and triumphs. They’re willing to be silly if you’re willing to be silly, and they are fascinated by the way things work, things that we take for granted far too often.

I love their faces when they realize that I can understand and speak some Spanish, when they give me a high five for finishing their homework, and when they are amazed that someone so old can still hang upside down on the monkey bars.

Maybe I was wrong in getting my credential to teach secondary education. Maybe I should’ve gone for the elementary route like all of the other teachers who can’t find jobs. Eh, regardless of my educational background, I’m going to love these kids this year. I’m going to take my experiences teaching and improve on my weaknesses. I will be firm, fair, and friendly. I will make things personal, but not take them personally, and I will invest my life into the lives of these students. In a few months, I’ll look back at this and reflect on the emotions of now

I’ll make it simple for future me: I’m smiling, and happy.