Quote for the Week
"If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job." ~Donald D. Quinn
I spent the last week driving my daughter, a high school art teacher, to various meetings, clinics, and workshops since she's still unable to drive after her surgery. I've always had great respect for teachers, but this past week, I realized how much they go through in order to prepare for their job.
Every summer while kids are goofing off, teachers are writing new lesson plans or tweaking old ones. At least my daughter and her co-workers do this. They spend two weeks in training every year before school begins. They listen to lectures about how to be better teachers, participate in group and individual projects, set up classrooms, and get back into the habit of early to rise and late to bed.
Once I thought about being a teacher, but I don't think I could cope with all the legislative interference. Teachers are on the front line of every idea that comes down from the legislature. Just ask a teacher what he or she thinks about no child left behind, an idealistic concept that is a nightmare in reality.
Then there are the parents. Sometimes I think the world has gone insane. Parents have emailed insults, cursed my daughter, and threatened her with bodily harm because of a grade she gave their child or maybe because the kid was high in class, and she reported it. This doesn't just happen to my daughter but to all teachers, and this is a "good" school.
My daughter loves teaching and calls her students her "kids," but she's also had to run from a student who threatened to beat her. He was on drugs. Most of the kids are delights though some break her tender heart. She's young and compassionate, not yet jaded and hardened by life. Some kids have parents who get angry if she calls in an effort to find out why a former good kid is suddenly apathetic and uncaring. Some of her kids are high achieving, but the parents never show up at award ceremonies though my daughter has driven at night all the way across Houston to attend something honoring one of her students.
Every year my daughter has the kids fill out an exit interview form. It's multiple choice with a space where they can write anything they want and don't have to sign their name. I read all of them, and my heart swelled with pride. Not one complained about her or her class even though there were several that said they sucked at art.
Instead, the comments were: Your class saved my life. This class was the only good thing about this year. Thanks for listening to me. Thanks for helping me. I'll never forget you.
On and on, dozens of compliments and heart-felt sentiments. I told my daughter to save them in notebook and read them when her job depressed her, as it sometimes does, because they proved that she was appreciated, she makes a difference, she helps kids that need help.
So, Teachers, I applaud you and wish you a good year filled only with happiness and success.
We should all strive to make a difference and leave the world a better place.