- Teaching in a Pandemic: Help Teachers, Help You - February 2, 2021
- The Importance of Feedback in Distance Learning - October 9, 2020
- What a Teacher Wants: One Teacher's View - March 25, 2018
- Artist is Not a Dirty Word - March 18, 2018
- The Death of Reflection in English/Language Arts Classrooms - March 9, 2018
- More Than A Teacher - March 4, 2018
- Real Teaching Resolutions - January 5, 2017
- 23 Times I have Questioned My Sanity While Teaching - September 7, 2016
- Part 3: Adventures in Real Word English/Language Arts - Let Them Be Great - August 23, 2016
- Part 2: Adventures in Real World English/Language Arts: Making Them Care - August 4, 2016
“No! You can’t do this to me!”
Anyone that has taught an honors student has heard these words at least once in their teaching career. This particular student had a “B” on her report card. She plagiarized an essay and I gave her a zero. A college-bound senior knows better... or should know better. I would rather her learn her lesson now with me than at a university that would throw her out. She did go on to make an A the next grading period and she finished the course with an A, but I would never forget those tears.
As a teacher, I have seen lots of tears from students, including fake tears, happy tears, broken-hearted tears, and sad tears. Tears are part of life, but they seem to appear in the classroom more than one would think. I’ve made students cry all kinds of tears, though I never mean to. No teacher goes into the profession intending to make students cry, but it happens nonetheless.
The first time I made a student cry I was mortified. I had given my first test ever and she made a “C.” I was already insecure about teaching seniors and I was warned that they would try to bully me. She stayed after class and the tears began to fall. I did not know how to deal with it, so I guided her to the counselor and we talked. It turns out she wasn’t crying about her “C.” Her parents were going through a divorce and her father moved out. It was one of those moments that stayed with me, chances are those tears or that bad behavior isn’t about you.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"]Chances are those tears or that bad behavior isn’t about you. Click To Tweet
Last semester, I wrote letters to my students. I found a good thing to say about each student and I will not lie to you, it was a little difficult to write a unique message and positive message for sixty kids, but four hours later I did it. I handed out the letters on the last day of class, about two minutes before the bell and planned to send them on their way. Instead of waiting, my kids ripped open those letters despite my asking them not to. After a few minutes, most of my class was crying. They were so moved, even the boys. When the bell rang, I was surrounded by my kids and received tons of hugs. They were sharing the letters with other kids in the hall. They confronted other teachers and asked, “Why don’t you write us letters?” I saw my letters taped inside lockers or in front of binders. The next day I had a single note on my desk, you were the only person that believed I could do something great, thank you. You never know how important your words are, they may have the power to change a child’s life.You never know how important your words are, they may have the power to change a child’s life. Click To Tweet
All day long, students come in and out my room. They pop with a quick “hi!” or they bring me a cookie or leave me a cute note on my desk, and before you start the lecture of “Why aren’t they in class?” I will say this is my favorite part of the job. I love that they feel comfortable enough to come in and say “hi.” Teenagers are so difficult to connect to and they make it nearly impossible for you to understand them. I enjoy my relationship with my students. It was during one of my prep periods, a student came in. He is one of these kids that is always in the detention center, you will see him arguing with teachers in the hall, and he has been arrested for theft. He came in on the verge of tears, I immediately stood up and said, “Michael,* what is the matter?”
He asked if he could use my phone. I paused, then I handed it over. He called his grandmother and told her his mother had thrown him out and he had nowhere to go and asked if he could move in with her. He handed me back the phone said, “Thank you” and sank into one of desk and proceeded to cry. My heart just broke for him. I didn’t know what do so I handed him my Kleenex box, and sat in the desk across from him and just waited for him to stop. He told me everything that led to his mother throwing him out. He told me want he wanted to be better, he just didn’t know how, then he asked a question that I had heard a million times in my class, but this one was in a completely different context and more important “Could I help him?” And I did. And I know you would have too.“Could I help him?” And I did. And I know you would have too. Click To Tweet“Could I help him?” And I did. And I know you would have too. Click To Tweet
Yes, my students cry. My classroom has seen all kinds of tears- good, bad, and ugly, but it is really an exchange because my students make me cry too. They make me cry tears of frustration, joy, and laughter, but my most important tears are shed in May when I see them walk across the stage. I hope you have an opportunity to connect with students and realize that you do make a difference every single day, even when you don’t realize it. Our jobs are more than standardized tests, data, and content; You may the only person all day that listens, smiles, or says hello to your students, you are an important step in the journey to adulthood, uplift them instead of causing them to stumble.you are an important step in the journey to adulthood uplift them instead of causing them to stumble. Click To Tweet
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