I generally listen to NPR on my way to work in the mornings. Today, I caught the tail end of a story by Claudio Sanchez titled Lessons From The School Where I Failed As a Teacher. There’s a heavy title for first thing in the morning – on my way to work as a teacher!!! I kept listening hoping to hear something that would make me feel a little more positive about the day ahead.
I could totally relate to Claudio. Every day for nine months, I work with my 26 or 28 or 31 students, teaching them to read and write and do sums but more importantly I teach them to be learners, to be kind, to love themselves and to be good people. The latter are the things that we as teachers are seldom if ever recognized for. I spend 30 hours a week working on those skills with my students but the specifics mostly go unnoticed. I know parents are grateful, but it isn’t often that I hear something that makes me really feel validated. I know you know what I am talking about.
I did today though. One of my students ran across the playground, gave me a hug, and said, “That’s from me AND from my brother!” I had seen her brother from afar at a high school basketball banquet the day before. I spared him the embarrassment of his 5th grade teacher congratulating him in front of his team and kept my focus on my own son. But the hug told me that maybe my name came up at the dinner table last night. And maybe even in a good way. 🙂
After Claudio interviewed a former student and hearing that he did do a pretty good job (or at least he wasn’t remembered as being a ‘bad’ teacher) , he says, “It’s good to hear John say that. It’s what all teachers need to hear at some point in their careers, a validation of sorts. Even if it’s only from one student, decades later.”
I hope you all get more than just one validation. You deserve millions for all of the work you do each day.