The other day I had two students show up to visit me, they had graduated the year before.
Okay first, that crap makes you feel REALLY old, REALLY fast. I really don't get how I taught them four years ago, and now they're in college. After all, I haven't aged a single day, I'm still 25. (No comments from the peanut gallery needed, mmmkay?!)
As we sat and chatted about where they were now and what they were up to one of them looked at me and said something I don't think I can ever forget. He said "When I was in school some days I felt like you were the only one who believed I could be something someday, and you never let me give up. Thank you." Insert tears from my eyes here.
Now to be honest, when I started teaching I always said I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to inspire kids and let them know that I would always be there if they needed to talk. I have had kids come to me in their darkest moments and tell me things I never wanted to hear. I have given relationship advice, parent advice, and life advice. But to hear a kid actually say out loud that I mattered to them - that's a pretty big deal, folks.
The funniest part is that I really wish I could get kids to realize when they are freshmen what they learn when they get out into the real world. You may never need to remember what type of rock pumice is (igneous, in case you had the urge to Google it), or what the Pythagorean theorem is used for, or even who wrote The Great Gatsby- but sitting in class "learning" all of those things really is preparing you for real life.
We're teaching you how to follow rules, even though you hate them. We're teaching you how to work with others (and pick up the slack for people who don't do their part). We're teaching you how to overcome obstacles and challenges and to figure out how you solve problems on your own. We're teaching you how to juggle multiple tasks and set realistic goals on what needs to get done and when. We're teaching you not to give up and to work hard and to be respectful. We're (at least trying to) teach you compassion and understanding- so that some day when you become an adult and have to care about someone other than yourself you'll know how.
None of these things really have anything to do with the content that I teach- but the truth is that sometimes I'm more concerned with the person you will become rather than the grade on your test.
That's how a lot of teachers feel, and that's why we do what we do. No one gets into this profession to make lots of money, or for the recognition, or for the "great hours" that everyone seems to think we have. You get into this profession to help kids and to make a difference- and that's no easy task. If you can get your students to learn, grow and give back- then you truly have hit the teaching jackpot. This guy has certainly done just that.
All over the country teachers are doing these things and really making a difference. Spending money out of their own pockets to provide students with materials they need. Office Depot and Adopt-A-Classroom have partnered to raise awareness about teachers, and all that they do in the lives of their students. Adopt-A-Classroom is a nonprofit organization that helps connect donors with teachers to enhance the learning environment for students, and you too can help by getting involved.
If you want to get involved here are two ways:
To Register your classroom as a teacher-
1. Go to the Teachers Change Lives Website
2. Click on the red box that says "Register Your Classroom," which will take you to the Adopt-A-Classroom website
3. Follow the corresponding steps from there
To Donate to a Teacher in Need-
1. Go to Teachers Change Lives website
2. Click on the teal "Donate to a Teacher" box on the Teachers Change Lives website, which will take you to the Adopt-A-Classroom website
3. Follow the corresponding steps from there.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.