Monday, November 05, 2012

A Little Goes a Long Way

Teaching is a tough job.  I don't doubt that other jobs are tough, but I'm going to talk about teaching.  That's what I do.

I spent about 8 hours in my classroom this weekend.  Saturday was 6 hours of grading papers, updating grades, and getting things ready for the week.  Our trimester (grading period) ends this week so I wanted to head into the week prepared.  Sunday was 2 hours of getting ready for a sub this morning - hence the reason I am blogging at 8:30 on a Monday morning.

Saturday, once I finished updating grades, I emailed a few parents.

One parent likes to keep close tabs on their student, wanting advice on how she can help her student.  But this student doesn't perform to potential.  I do everything I can: frequent visits at the student's desk, asking often if the student understands or has questions, and feedback on every assignment that this student turns in.  This student's grade hasn't improved much since midterm.  I totally feel like it is my fault, there is more that I should be doing.  I have to step back and remind myself that I make myself available for ALL students, but this student has to take some initiative.

Two of the other emails I sent were to parents whose students had not done very well on their most recent math test.  I know both students were concerned about their grades.  I emailed just to let the parents and students know that they were still doing okay in math and offered some helpful tips for test taking and test corrections (that was the assignment for the weekend).  Below is an excerpt from one parent's reply:

"I am sure you don't get thanked enough for all you do for our kids. I just want you to know that it is obvious how much you care for your students and I think you are a fantastic teacher!  Thank you!!!"

That email made my day.  I get blamed a lot for students bad grades.  I get blamed for them not getting homework home, forgetting things at school, not communicating enough, etc...  But that email simply erased all of those blaming, sometimes hateful, comments.

There is another parent who emails me almost weekly just to touch based and encourage me.  Example:

"Yep!!! She really enjoyed your after school time.  Thanks for doing such a great job!"

It is a blessing that cannot be expressed in words.  I just know that those emails and comments go a long way.

Please, if you know a teacher, drop them some word of encouragement.  No teacher is perfect.  However, they do a lot!  A little word of thanks or encouragement can go a VERY long way!