I’m not usually one for expressing emotion or discussing emotion in any sort of real way, but last week was Teacher Appreciation and I’d be lying if I said that the notes I received didn’t melt my cold heart a little.
There was one instance last week that is of particular note.
One of my students, who I’ve known for three years, wrote me a note that truly made me remember why it is I come to work every day.
He told me that he’d written me a note in another teacher’s class. That teacher had been asking his students to write letters of appreciation to teachers, and once they did so, the teacher would put it in the proper mailbox. I had gotten a few of these notes, but I hadn’t gotten the one that this student mentioned. I found this odd, but thought that the teacher hadn’t had a spare minute to put the note in my mailbox. After a few days, I just gave up looking for it.
It was a busy week overall, but on Friday morning, after looking for something in my car, I found the note, tucked in between my center console and the passenger seat. Before pulling out of my driveway to go to work, I read the note, and let’s just say that my decision to wear clear mascara was a good one.
As I’ve said, I’ve known this student for the past three years, and I knew that he liked me as his teacher. But, reading this note, and all of the notes too, made me realize that I do make an impact. I’ve doubted this fact ever since I became a teacher. I constantly worry that my students aren’t learning enough or that I’m not strict enough or that I’m too laid back. It’s a frustrating thing, not living up to your own expectations for yourself.
I always thought that if I were going to be a teacher, I would be the kind of teacher that had high expectations that students wanted to meet. I looked back at my own education and I realized that the teachers I respected the most were the ones that gave me the desire to learn.
But, I suppose that I’ve experienced some level of disillusionment over the last three years because I’m not that teacher. Or, at least, I don’t think I am. And, moreover, I’m not sure that I want to be. I try to make my class as engaging and interesting as possible so that students learn without feeling like they are. (I secretly call it Ninja Teaching.) I do my best to help my students become productive members of society, and it’s difficult to know if I have made a difference until they graduate and enter the world.
Reading the notes written by students last week really did help refocus and reignite my desire to teach. I have considered a lot whether I’m in the right profession, but I know now that I am in the right profession…for now.
So, to all of my students (though hopefully they’re not reading this because that will ultimately destroy my laid back, indifferent, unemotional reputation I’ve carefully cultivated over the last few years), thank you for helping me learn that I do make somewhat of a difference.
One thought on “Teacher Appreciation”
You are an amazing teacher, and you are making a difference! I really enjoyed teaching with you at JBHS! Be well!