As teachers, I feel we constantly second guess ourselves and grapple with the question– how do we know? How do we know our students are learning? How do we know that our students see us, their teacher, as a person they can trust? Someone they see as approachable? Someone they see as a person that welcomes them into their classroom? HOW DO WE KNOW?
Some days it drives me crazy, but I try to do my best. I try to make things fun yet show the importance of what we are doing/learning. I try to garner their creativity and let them know that their beliefs are important.
Yesterday, though, was like a day that I knew everything I was striving for was working…
After school a parent asked to talk to me outside. So of course, I wondered why and stepped outside to talk with the parent. She walked up with her oldest daughter, who I had in class four years ago… and then her younger daughter, now in my eighth grade class met us outside. They handed me a gift, which is truly one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve ever received. A signed copy of The Book Thief.
Each of them wrote me a note on a card. They were more like short letters, and it just made me feel like everything I have been working for is hopefully happening.
“I always feel comfortable with you in your class. I usually don’t like to participate in my other classes, but I never feel like you are judging me. It feels like I can freely give my opinions. I appreciate that, and I believe that you worked to make all of your students feel that way.”
“…you have taught me given me confidence and creativity, and have given me warm memories that I carry with me and can fall back on when I need to. You are kind, patient, and I know that I can trust you, even four years after having you as a teacher.”
“Thank you for introducing ____________ to The Book Thief. That book changed her life because she loves it so much. The book has also brought ____________________ & _____________________ closer because they have such a love and appreciation for it.”
It was one of those moments where you just want to cry and you just feel so appreciated and so loved. I will cherish this book and what these girls wrote me for the rest of my life. I will keep working hard to make all of my students feel this way. I will keep introducing literature that I feel will benefit their lives.
This is why I do what I do.