By Mary Robison
When doing it well, teachers are also counselors, nurses, parents, grandparents, coaches, and cheerleaders. They hit the ground running first thing in the morning and literally can’t even stop to use the restroom until the schedule dictates a break. They take the time to see areas in each of 25 kids at a time (or 30 or 40) that are already strong, and areas that need to be strengthened. They need to know their kids well enough to talk to them and use their interests and fears to drive them to successes. They have to know which parents will support them if they call home and which will challenge them. They have to know which kids need to take home two copies of everything because of a divorce, and which kids need to go to the clinic at which times for meds, blood sugar levels, etc. They have to know who really has a stomach ache and who is just nervous to give a speech or take a test. They have to know whose dog just died and who needs a new friend because an old one moved away last week. Teachers have to make content available that is compelling and engaging to those who can already do it all so fluently, to those who can’t do any of it yet, and those in the middle. They have to offer enrichment and remediation to everyone at either end, and they have to meticulously measure progress at all times. Outside class, they have paperwork to fill out, submitted work on which to give thoughtful feedback, plans to make and meetings to attend.
They aren’t martyrs. Outstanding teachers do it all, because they are called to help students grow. They love your kids and love what they teach. But a little note this holiday season would go a long way to warming the heart of the person who is shepherding your child through each of 180 days this school year. “Thank you for caring for my child. Thank you for letting her in on her own capabilities. We notice and appreciate all your hard work.”
We teach kids that words have power and to use them for good. Spread around some powerful words this holiday season!