Being a teacher is exhausting. Often I ask myself the rhetorical question “Why am I a teacher?” My profession is a tremendous balance of kindness, knowledge, patience, deep breathes, lesson planning (which always seems to get pushed because of other obligations) communication, learning, creating, being proactive and teaching is some where in the mix.
I would like to tell you that my profession gets easier with each year completed, but it does not. The students have become more challenging, wealthy entrepreneurs invest in common core standards that are not developmentally appropriate to the grade which caused our curriculum to change and our best practices to be effected, districts allow the age of enrollment to be too early & then wonder why so many students are below grade level ( well maybe because they should have waited to start kindergarten), the landscape in regular ed classroom has drastically changed and sometimes 1 or 2 students will consume 80% of the teachers time & the education of the other students suffer. Teaching is exhausting to the mind, the body and the spirit, especially when the energy of the classroom is unbalanced.
And then one day, a situation changes the exhaustion to fulfillment. For one brief moment we are reminded why we are a teacher. One of my teacher friends discovered this note and she shared with me the story behind it. You see, Manuel is not a cooperative student. He often is quietly defiant and simple put rude. When the teacher called Manuel over to discuss the note Manuel denied it; even though his name is written on the post-it. The teacher asked Manuel again if he wrote it he said “yes.” With his head hung down, the teacher continued to explain how she would like to keep it and asked Manuel’s permission to do so. He lifted his head and the teacher continue to explain how his words made her day. Manuel smiled and agreed she could keep the note.
Moments like these are our successes, our bonuses, and our motivation to continue. Moments like these remind us why became a teacher despite everything we do not have control over, everything that is frustrating. Moments like this make our hearts full.
Side note: My friend is an exceptional teacher; she meets the students where they are emotionally, she is consistent with her expectations, respectful, and joyful. Needless to say Manuel is very fortunate to have her as his teacher, and his note is evidence he knows this to be true. Please remember to measure your child’s success in school by their sparkle in their eyes and eagerness to want to go to class, especially in elementary school. Their sparkle should not disappear.