It is that time of the year where people start to give you dirty looks at me because I'm a teacher and "I get summers off." I'm not going to waste space in this blog refuting that stupid comment. People that read this blog know better and I do not need to preach to the converted. However, I do want to share with everyone a few things that have happened over the past week that are the real reason I teach.
The first thing I want to share is something that happened to me today. I had a great group of kids in my 5th hour this year. The worked hard, but found the time for a good laugh. I promised them a bagel party before their final exam today because of their year of hard work. Some kids trickled in before the start of the final exam and I was called away to answer some questions for another teacher. Normally, I do not leave my room unattended, but I trust these kids enough to give them my car keys to drive to my house to bring back my wallet. They are that good! Anyway, while I was talking to the teacher, the kids shut the door and quickly covered the room with these,
You see, Justin Beiber has been a running joke in class all year and I can't stand this kid. Why is he trending on Twitter ALL OF THE TIME? Anyway, I have a few girls with Bieber Fever and they thought it would be funny to have a Bieber themed Final Exam. They also made me a giant cupcake seen here,
This connection with a group of kids is just one reason why I teach. Here is another.
In High School, it's rare that you get to know a student over the course of four years. You might have them in class for only 1 year and they bounce around to other teachers. Every so often, you get a chance to teach a kids for three or even four years. It's great because you really get to see them grow and mature. I had this opportunity to work with a student over the course of four years and she is easily one of my favorite students of all time. This quick story is how I first got to know this student.
Freshmen year, I give my students an assignment to create their own Origin Myth after having read some Greek stories. These are Freshmen, so I expect a bunch of spelling and Grammar issues, but that's fine. They are here to learn. I impress upon them the importance of proofreading to catch silly mistakes before I get them and find them. Well, this student failed to proofread and this is a sentence I found in her paper, "The mother raped the baby in the blanket." She assured me she meant wrapped, but it was a great teaching point about the importance of proofreading.
Over the years, she has always been very kind and come to me with questions and guidance over various things. This student is graduating this year and is going on to to great things. She wrote me a note and said something that, to me, is the reason why I teach. "Thank you for impacting my life in ways I never thought you would." It was simple. It was sweet. It means the world to me.
The last thing I want to share, but is far from the last reason why I teach is another note from a student. Much like the odds of having a student for four years are steep, getting to know a student that you never teach is next to impossible. I worked with this student over the course of 4 years through various clubs and I would let them pick my brain about school, club stuff, etc. They are one of the smartest students I have ever know and they are going to change the world. One day they came to room to chat and we started talking about the 1,000 greatest books in the world and which ones I have read or want to read. I mentioned I wanted to read Life of Pi and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Two days later I received a gift bag from the student that had both of those book and a note. This sentence is another reason why I teach, "...while you never taught me while I was sitting in a desk, you taught me while I was sitting on one."
I decided to share these stories because it is too easy for teachers to be at the end of their rope in June and wonder why they do what they do. I DO NOT teach to get these nice cards from students. However, they are the things that I will cherish until the day I retire. They are the reason I teach and I hope all of you have your reasons.
Have a great summer everyone!
Your thoughts and stories were inspiring to me on these last days of the current year. Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
You hit the nail on the head - it's about people and "connecting".ReplyDelete
By the way, I'm with you regarding this Justin Bieber kid!
Terrific post! You are so right; those are the real reasons we teach. The impact we make on some students will influence them forever!ReplyDelete
This is a great post! So inspiring and moving. It's important to remember the reasons why we are all in this profession and the great importance of connecting with students. Your post makes me look forward to a bright future as a teacher.ReplyDelete
This just shows how much of an impact that we have on our students, even when we don't realize that we are.ReplyDelete
There are many people in my country who think teachers are in it for the long holidays as well!ReplyDelete
The impact we have on our students goes mostly unnoticed and it is these litlle gestures and comments from a few students that make it all worthwhile. That's the reason why I teach too! To make a difference whether you are in the classroom or out!
What we also need to remember is that for every note that we do receive, there are probably many more students who feel the same. They just express it in how they move forward and live their lives. So while we all can't have the experience George Bailey did in It's a Wonderful Life, we can watch it as a reminder to ourselves of the unknown impressions we have made with our students.ReplyDelete
This is very touching and made me feel a little sad too. I used to teach in a great US high school and was the object of this type of end-of-the-year notes, cards, annual signatures, whatever. I now teach in a small French college and although I do have the same kids for three years (a wonderful thing as you point out) French kids just aren't open and communicative that way with their teachers. That sort of behavior would be seen as some sort of boot-licking, even if done after the fact. Sometimes I manage to get a glimpse of what they think in their end-of-the-year reports (they have to write a yearly paper analyzing their whole year...)but they would hesitate to say the same things directly.ReplyDelete
Anyway, this is getting quite rambling and I have to go off to work! Very nice post and have a great summer.
Wonderful post that hits the nail on the head of why people love this profession! That connectivity piece was missing for me this year in the role I took which is exactly why I am returning to the classroom next year! I missed the kids!ReplyDelete
what a great post! the connection is SO important. i had a great connection with the first class i taught as an adjunct and that was a huge chunk of why i loved the gig so much. i had a class this past semester that was the opposite and it was very very trying--but character-building i suppose :) anyway--great points and very inspiring!ReplyDelete
What awesome students! That is why I teach too, because we are impacting lives and helping them make their way in the world. Here it is, June 18th and I am still dreaming about my students nightly. I have been out of school for 3 weeks now but I am still dreaming of my students. The dreams never take place in a classroom. I always dream that I am helping them in some way. Last night I was reassuring one of my students who is also a foster child. Wish I could see her one last time and let her know how amazing she is.ReplyDelete
Great post! Very poignant. We all have different variants of why we want and love to teach, but essentially it's about the connections and relationships we make and keep.ReplyDelete
Thanks to everyone who has commented on this post. School years can be long and hard for many of us, but it is important to remember those little moments of win instead of dwelling on the moments of fail. I'm glad those stories put a smile on your face. I hope summer is going well for everyone out there. :-)ReplyDelete
Okay, so I just got around to reading this post because I was too busy with the business of year-end stuff and it has left me in a puddle of tears. Sometimes we forget in these busy and stressful times why we teach. When I taught high school, I would more often see the direct impact that I had on students' lives through notes and comments. Now I teach grade 3 and I have to keep reminding myself that the younger they are, the longer we have to wait sometimes to see the impact we might have on their lives. It is easier to forget why we do this. You reminded me why. I have one week left with my little guys and I will make it a goal to see the little things... I will cherish each hug, each story, each smile, and be grateful that I am the recipient! Thanks for this post.ReplyDelete
Wow, what a great post! It is wonderful to see how some students will put in that much effort in their busy lives for a teacher. Your blog reminds me of all the students I've had at the high school level who have given extra effort to remind me why I am a teacher. Thanks and keep up the great work!ReplyDelete
Lovely stories Nick. They also tell us why your kids learn so much from you as you are inspiring and passionate. they are lucky students!ReplyDelete
This one's making my next blog carnival.ReplyDelete
Wow, I had no idea that this post would touch so many people. I just wanted to share a couple of nice moments with everyone out there. I guess it shows how important those types of moments are to teachers. I encourage all of you to blog about your experiences and pass them forward. We all need those feel good moments over the course of a long school year. Pass on the love and we will all be warmed by them.ReplyDelete
You defined why I teach as well. I'm an elementary teacher, so I only get kids for a year, but the notes really make a difference. I have a student who I taught 2 years ago still drop me an email every once in a while to see how I'm doing and share her life with me. That's when you really know you made an impact.ReplyDelete