To my teacher friends
I have a lot of feelings about teachers. I was raised by a teacher. And I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without some of the amazing teachers that I learned from along the way. I also remember the teachers that made me dread going to school everyday. Teachers that I just wished, over and over, that they could just see what I could see, and help me get there. I wasn’t the easiest student to teach (I may have a mild aversion to authority) but I was a good kid.
Now that I have a child in elementary school, it has never been more obvious to me that all teachers are not created equal. Just like all students are unique in their own ways, all teachers bring something different to the table. And there are a lot of teachers out there that are great. However, there are probably, also, a lot of teachers out there that are not-so-great.
What I would like to put out there for all of the people that call themselves teachers is to ask yourself if you are consistently a great teacher to all the kids.
If I had to guess, you all could look back and think of that one child, or maybe more, that really tried your patience. It is probably not difficult to imagine the kid who made everyday just a little bit harder in your classroom for that year. What I would like to say today, is that that child had a mother who cried regularly because her child’s teacher didn’t treat her kid like she treated the others. And she was afraid to speak up, or worse, afraid not to. I can also promise you that her child knew he wasn’t the favorite. And he remembers you too.
That child deserved so much more than to be the kid that you remember as the troublemaker, or the performer, or the kid that always gets hurt and causes you extra work. And that mom deserved more than to be scared to send an email or make a phone call for fear that it would make her kid’s life so much harder the next day. I ask every teacher that reads this to please remember every kid, even the difficult one, needs you to be great everyday, to every kid.
I recognize that teachers have way too much on their plates. I understand that a room full of children combined with so many requirements and expectations combined with low pay and under appreciation don’t exactly make for a rewarding work environment. However, I put my trust in you every day to be the adult in my kid’s life. I trust you to demonstrate to my child that there are adults in his world that truly care about him and his future. I desperately need you to be a safe grown up, to not make him doubt himself, and to build him up rather than break his spirit.
Last week, I watched a teacher break my son’s spirit. And in that moment, I felt like a failure. So please, I beg you, stop and think before you write a kid off, grumble about the amount of attention certain kids need, or get frustrated when a parent has a stupid question. Think about being a great teacher to all the kids all the time. Because that’s what makes a great teacher. If you are only great for the good kids, the easy kids, you’re not really so great after all.