I don’t know about you, but every time I have seen an inspirational teacher movie…Stand and Deliver, Dead Poets Society, Dangerous Minds, Mr. Holland’s Opus or any number of others, I inevitably have a bad case of allergies. The music swells, the kids rally behind the unorthodox, caring teacher…and the tears flow. Well, the tears that others flow. Mine were from allergies.
Who am I kidding, I am often a weeping, sobbing mess…even more now that I have had children of my own and because I am a teacher. The reason I cry is twofold, now. One is I have had one or two of those teachers in my life that I owe something to.
They always gave the best worksheets, the best homework and the best lectures, they taught to the standards and helped me prepare for the state tests…said no student ever. No, it is because they cared. They showed interest in us, believed in us, and an often taboo word for teachers…They loved us. And interestingly enough, this is one of the reasons we do what we do (or it needs to be-hopefully more than not). We don’t teach just to give worksheets, just to teach standards, just to give homework and lectures.
We can only keep going because we love it. We do it because we hold out hope that one day, we will be that teacher to many kids. The one who cared about them. The one who showed interest. The one who made school a safe place to grow.
In reality, we will not likely have some momentous occasion where we are honored like those in the movies. However, if we are doing it right, we will be remembered for changing a child in some way. We may never hear from them, but for at least one, the note above is the truth.
That is what carries me through some of those difficult times. I HAVE to be making a difference. Somewhere, somehow. Even just for one. If I ever stop trying to be THAT one, I need to get out of teaching right away.