The creator of Glee thanked all of the teachers that him finger paint in school (encouraging creativity). The best supporting actor Emmy wonner, David Strathairn, made the comment “that all of us had teachers that recognized something in us” and “opened a door”. He said he felt privileged to play that role.
As an educator, do you feel privileged? Do you appreciate the fact that you are touching students lives? I hope so. It made me reflect on what is really important in our roles…it isn’t about a “test”, or a reading log, or the signing of a form. It’s about young people…children. In some cases, it’s about making them feel secure, making them feel valued, and providing a door to their future.
I’ll never forget a student that I was lucky enough to have in one of my last years teaching. I won’t go into details, but just say that I invested more of my time, energy, and personal $$$ than I ever had before. He was known as a discipline “challenge”, but I tell you what. When he smiled, it lit up my classroom. It was a powerful lesson in that some students needed love and security from me more than they needed to memorize their multiplication facts. I had to think outside of the box to get ANYTHING from him that year, but it was so worth it. When he looks back on his academic experiences, wherever he has ended up, I hope he remembers me as someone who cares about him, rather than someone who felt the need to control and confront, just because I was the “adult” in the relationship.
I asked a good friend of mine if this “love’em all” expectation was unrealistic, if I was thinking with my admin eye, instead of a teacher one. We agreed that if you were able to develop a relationship with your students and truly make them all feel successful…show that you genuinely care about them, each one individually, then you could accomplish both your academic goals and these personal points. I know that there will be many who disagree with me here, but anyone who knows me, knows that relationships are my “thing”. I think it all starts there…you can always try to close an academic gap…but how can you even make a dent if the student thinks you don’t care? With our students that need that little extra attention, doesn’t it stand to reason that they already know what failure feels like? Why don’t you be THAT teacher? the one that shows them what it feels like to feel good about themself…
I challenge my LL’s to be THAT teacher this school year…