I’ve taught high school English for twelve years. I happen to work in a great district, my pay is nice, my hours are good, my benefits are adequate, and the vacations are ample. Best of all? I get to have a positive impact upon the world on a daily basis. I have the opportunity to lead by example, to show young people the right way, and to be a role model. I take those things seriously while having fun doing it.
So I’m not complaining about being a teacher. I love being a teacher. I think I’ve got one of the greatest jobs in the world. But, like most jobs, I won’t say it’s easy. The one thing I didn’t expect when I entered the profession is the emotional toll. Engaging with nearly 125 teenagers every day is a roller coaster, and it’s sometimes challenging to remember that I’m the adult, I’m the professional, I’m the role model.
It gets especially hard around election time. That’s when politicians like to use education as ammunition. That’s when we hear our students aren’t good enough, our teachers aren’t good enough, and our schools aren’t good enough. Politicians love to beat up on education because it’s something every American can relate to in some capacity. We’ve all been to school, right?
And, like most jobs, teachers typically don’t hear much from the public unless something has gone wrong, unless there is a complaint of some sort. Like I said, this isn’t unusual for any job, but I just wanted to point out that it’s true of education as well.
So here’s what I’m asking of you, here’s the solid I request. If you have a child in school, please try to find something nice to say to the teacher about the job being done. Even if you don’t have a child, please get in touch with a former teacher for whom you have positive memories and let them know they did right by you. I can personally attest that these small gestures mean the world to educators and can do much to recharge the batteries, especially when considering the current month!
About once a semester, I get a personal note from a student. The student often lets me know that they appreciated my efforts, my passion, my humor, or simply my kindness. I cherish those letters. I save them like they are bricks of gold. I wont’ lie – I pull them out when things are a little rough and use them to bolster myself.
The gesture you show a teacher today could literally encourage them for years to come.
We all need a little cheering on from time to time, and teachers are no different.
Thanks for the solid.