Sure teachers don’t make a lot of money and they often work nights and weekends grading papers but I am going to let you in on a little secret-a teacher’s real payday comes when we have definitive proof we have made a difference for even one student. That proof is priceless. Sometimes the proof comes when you see a student’s improvement on a test or his grade. Other times you see it in his face when he has that moment of “ah-hah!” Rarely, do you have a student tell you straight out how much they have learned or appreciate you for what you have done for them. Sometimes, though, it comes in the form of a written note or letter. These, I cherish and put in what I call my “First Aid Folder”. My First Aid Folder is a collection of notes,letters, written papers, and cards I have collected from my students over the years. If I am feeling like I am a failure or having a bad day, I can pull these out and read through some of them and it pumps me up. This year I received some great letters from my seniors. Below are some excerpts from these letters.
“You’re an amazing teacher..”
From a girl who wants to be a teacher and follows me on Facebook:
“You’re an awesome teacher. Your sense of Vans shoe fashion is top notch and your Godly posts are wonderful. Thanks for a great English year. You rock, God bless.”
From a boy who had me last year for junior English as well:
“When I found out I got you …weights were lifted from my shoulders and angels sang in the background….I am very grateful for everything you have done for me. You are an amazing teacher…”
From a girl who had some deaths of loved ones and some scary health issues this year:
“This year has definitely been a “learning” experience and I do appreciate you understanding and helping me understand the bumps in my path.”
From one of my more eloquent students:
“I respect you as both a human being and a wise teacher. Your methods of teaching really inspire me because of the fact that you can create images with your words when you speak. This to me is an art and I take notice to it. It is what keeps me focused and connected to your teachings…keep doing what you are doing. You are a great teacher. Never once have I seen you change up (this means “get mad” I had to look it up:-). You always come willing to teach and you were the same great teacher every time.”
Then there was this shocking revelation:
“Believe or not you are actually pretty funny.”
And finally, this note which was a nice surprise.
“You have been a phenomenal teacher. The way you teach is beyond expectations. My father enjoys hearing about you, also. You have been a great mentor, leader, role model, and caregiver. I would fail to be in your class again but I don’t want that to happen. “
So, next time you see one of those “If you can read this, thank a teacher” bumper stickers, do indeed thank a teacher but consider putting it in writing. Maybe that teacher will put it in their “First Aid Folder”.