As a teacher, I work really hard to do.....well, everything.
I spend time thinking of creative and effective units, writing lesson plans, setting up my classroom for our daily activities, teach my heart out, manage classroom distractions, assess student engagement and mastery over concepts, answering questions, responding to emails, conversing with students about their lives, attending faculty meetings, grading endless piles of student work.......I'll stop there, but I could definitely keep going.
Yeah, I'd say we teachers are pretty busy. And the hardest part of my job is that I truly put my heart into everything I do. I care so much for my students, for their happiness and their success. I am pleased to say that I am 97% sure my students KNOW I love them. I work hard to make my classroom a fun, safe place to learn, communicate, and experience a tiny piece of their crazy teenage years.
You can't please 'em all...
So this week, it was tough when I received an email from an angry parent complaining about a practice in my classroom. (Truth is, she was mad about something that is a school-wide policy, but for some reason she thought that I was particularly terrible for "rewarding the slackers in [my] class instead of those who work hard to do what is expected".) Honestly, I was able to look at most of the email with an level-headed outlook. But of course, this parent had to end with a personal attack: "I am saddened to see that [my child]'s love of Language Arts has diminished because of your teaching methods."
Really?! This parent and student are going to overlook ALL of the amazing things we have discusses and learned and accomplished throughout the year because of one little policy?! (One, I might restate, that isn't even something I personally believe in; I am required to implement it because of our school culture and school-wide policies.)
But, so many of them still love you !
While it is tough to swallow criticism or complaints, I have to say that I am grateful that I am always able to improve. I know I have made a difference in many of my students' lives.
How do I know this? Well, let me just outline a few of the bright moments of this week:
"[My daughter] really looks up to you and has enjoyed learning in your class. I asked her what she will miss about Jr. High...you were her response. Thank you for being such a great role model for her - especially during what many kids see as the toughest time of their lives thus far."
And THAT, folks, is why I have loved teaching. :) So while I can't make everyone happy, I feel pretty proud of the job I have accomplished this year.
Andrew and Maichael
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