Updated: Mar 30, 2022
The work teachers do literally changes lives.
On any given day (particularly during a pandemic), teachers are expected to fulfill the role of nurse, teacher, technology guru, entertainer, police officer, mediator or babysitter.
They deal with parents who believe their children are unique, special, gifted, mis-treated or misunderstood. They are measured on metrics that have very little to do with their effectiveness, ability or training.
I was recently cleaning out bins filled with projects, papers and paintings from my son's elementary and middle school years. At the bottom of the bin I found a journal he kept in elementary school and as I flipped through the journal, I was reminded how much goodness teachers bring to the lives of their students -- and our world.
They helped him to learn math, science and reading, but they also taught him to express his creativity, taught him to be confident and kind, and showed him through several community-oriented projects how to become a productive member of society.
He was blessed by amazing teachers, but one particular teacher stood out among the greats. She understood that kids can't always sit still and they learn in different ways and at different paces. She knew school was more than writing, reading and math. She knew it was a place where students need to feel safe, involved and guided.
In the journal he kept that year, I found an oath that my son and his fellow students recited every morning with their teacher. I know she expanded their little brains with knowledge but I suspect she also filled their hearts with wisdom.
Here's what those students were taught to believe:
"We believe in life-long learning and adventure.
We believe in facing each day with minds open to knowledge and hearts open to love.
We believe in the freedom to wonder, ask, explore, imagine and create.
We believe that success means doing our best, being our best and feeling proud of our efforts.
We believe that everyone one of us has special talents and the talents of each of us help all of us. We believe in ourselves, in each other and in the organization."
To the teachers who may be struggling or tired or ready to call it quits, I want to remind you of your value and thank you for your work. You matter. The work you do matters. Thank you for working so hard to do right by other people's kids.
I know it can't be easy, but I don't think that's why you chose the profession.
Please keep showing up and keep shining. It makes a difference for all who see.