Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Appreciate a Teacher
Today I took a moment to stop at Starbucks, not for me, but for the teachers in my children's lives. I wanted to give them a token of my gratitude and appreciation for being significant people in their lives and their education. All of my children love school and love to share what they are learning. This tells me that their teachers and my husband and I are instilling a healthy love for learning.
No person is perfect...so no friend, husband, wife, boss, co-worker or teacher is perfect. We embrace that because it challenges our character to learn to appreciate the good qualities in a person and deal with and learn from the qualities that we have difficulty with. It makes us stronger and more compassionate human beings. It is good to have different types of teachers (not just the mushy gushy ones that affirm us, as well as our children, every day). Yes, they need to be good at instructing and care about our children and nurture them but if we had the "perfect" teacher every year, would your child be ready for the challenges later in life with that grumpy boss who wouldn't give a compliment if his/her life depended on it or cope with the scatterbrained co-worker that they are on a project with? It is about teaching your children (and yourself) to see the positive in people and teach them how to maneuver through the different personalities.
It's important to make each year a team effort. Not only between you, your child and their teacher but between you and your child alone. Let them know you are there to work things out and give them strategies to deal with their daily challenges. Remember, going against the teacher instead of working with them is not going to be productive. I have had some difficulty this year with teachers and I have not been "perfect" at dealing with it. I am writing this as a reminder to myself to be positive and not compare myself as a teacher with their teachers who may be very different.
I was a teacher for many, many years. It is a difficult job physically, mentally and emotionally. Imagine being on your feet all day walking from one end of the building to the other at least 4 times a day ( I wore a step tracker once and maxed out on it at 10,000 steps in a day which is close to 5 miles), continuously planning for the next presentation which has to be seamless, while administrative papers pile up on the corner of your desk throughout the day, with the phone ringing, emails coming in, papers to correct, shoes to tie, articles of clothing to find, coats to zip up, hugs to give, tears to dry, fights to break up, (differentiation) challenging the high learners, reaching the low learners, not forgetting the average level kids, staff meetings, IP meetings, new curriculum, state testing, lost lunch boxes, forgotten lunch boxes, recess duty on the coldest days and one of my most challenging was knowing I was going to have to protect and reassure and comfort 20 little first graders on 911 when they locked down the school and it seemed the world was coming to an end. I could only picture Red Dawn (the movie) and bad guys parachuting down as I huddled these little sweet babies in a corner protecting them. I was emotionally drained that day. We are totally invested and we do care about your children.
Teachers and families are a team and it takes the team and the tribe to raise good people. If you feel that your child isn't getting the education they deserve or being treated fairly, of course do something about it. Be fair, though. Question your children as well as the teacher.
Be sure to thank a teacher today. The smallest gesture truly means the world to a teacher. I thank all of the families I've had and the support they gave me and some still give me.