We've been told Home is where the Heart is. I believe your heart will be where you give of yourself.
On that note, a beautiful contribution from reader Ashley Pacanowski:
As someone who has yet to fall in love, have children, and build my own family, very much of my sense of home has been shaped by my career. I spend more time in my classroom than my actual home. You would think that is a negative statement, but it's something I cherish. You see, my physical location has changed so quickly that my classroom has become my home. It's the one place I can unpack my most treasured thoughts, ideas, and inspirations. It's a world I can create on my own and the only limitation is my imagination. No matter where the economy and twists of fate take me, I can pull up in a new town and set up shop. I am connected to some of the most emotionally gripping moments I've ever experienced.
My classroom is more than a collection of supplies and mementos. Each piece reminds me of a moment where I was changed forever. The mailbox that sits on my desk reminds me of the first gift I ever received from a student. I opened the mailbox one day to find six pennies, an apple, and a note that simply said "I love you." It came from a student who was homeless at the time, and it was quite literally all she had to give. The trees and vines that decorate my room remind me of the time a student said that he felt like he was across the world. This was a young boy who had never seen the landmark river two miles from his home because he had never traveled past his block. Every time I hear the bell ring and a student scoots in late I think of the 7 year old student who woke up one day to an empty home. He wanted to go to school so badly he walked four city blocks, with no shoes, all by himself...just so he wouldn't have to miss school. And each time I give a hug I think of the student who was so emotionally damaged that he wouldn't allow anyone to touch him. The last day of school he looked up at me with tears in his eyes, threw his arms around me, and said "I'm really going to miss you."
My classroom is my home because it reminds me of the gifts I have been given that I take advantage of. My classroom is my home because it is a safe haven for students and teachers alike to sing, dance, joke, and play without fear of judgment. My classroom is my home because I know that every day I can impact the lives of so many children who may not feel safe in their own home.
When I think of the word home I think of feeling secure, grounded, and happy. Home is being surrounded by loved ones and memories that shape who you are.
Though I may not find a town that is my home, I will always have a home. For as long as I am blessed to have a job in teaching, my heart has a place to call home.