11 hours ago
Friday, February 5, 2010
Be warned that this is a self-promoting post. I apologize for that, but the experience was too special to me so I must blog about it.
Ranger BJ at Timpanogos Cave sometimes says, "We park rangers take our pay in sunsets." I don't know any wealthy park rangers and I don't know any wealthy teachers either. However, I just got one of those special teacher paychecks during parent teacher conferences last night.
Nobody knows how many times I leave my school discouraged. I can never accomplish enough. I can't find the right books to hook the student who hasn't discovered reading yet. I don't have time to correct everything, plan everything, and teach everything. I worry about fifth grade hearts and souls. I get snappy, grumpy, impatient. I can't remember much of the positive, but if one child mentions she is bored, the comment stays with me for weeks, even though I'll tell her that this isn't a dog and pony show (then the child looks at me like they've no idea what a dog and pony show is, because they don't, so then I'll rephrase it like this, "We're not playing an animated video game here, this is good, old-fashioned WORK!"--they understand that a bit better). So, you get the idea. I'm weighed down by the responsibility of teaching all the kids so much stuff, and then I'm weighed down by the threat of low test scores, and it's just a vicious cycle. But then the sun comes out. I do get puffed up once in awhile by sincere comments that I might never hear unless a parent happens to mention it to me during a conference.
Well, last night I met with N's parents. N was not present. I clearly remember the last conference because N's mom told me N has NEVER liked school. He just does it because he has to, but he takes no joy in any of the subjects. During this conference, N's mom said, "I want you to know what N said the other day. He said, 'Mrs. K is my First Favorite Teacher.'" N is so quiet. He started crying at my desk the other day while I was checking his planner. I have no clue why. How would I have ever known that he's finally liking school unless his mother told me? My eyes teared up instantly. Out of all the stress and worry, I got a wonderful "sunset" which made me think that perhaps I do have something to offer to these children in spite of all that I lack.
The "I'm bored." comment will stay with me for weeks. The "Mrs. K is my First Favorite Teacher." comment will stay with me for the rest of my life!