Thank You Teachers Who Care For Their Students3 min read
There is probably a student in your classroom right now who feels terribly, horribly alone. They might act like they have it all together, and to the students around them it might seem that way- putting on a smile, getting some work done, going through the motions, but as a teacher you hear parts of the story that other students don’t hear.
You know that some of your kids only get food when they come to school. And on nights and weekends, they go hungry. You’ve driven by those students’ houses that don’t have heat, or windows, or floors. You were told by the school social worker which of your students are in foster care. You’ve had parents call you and tell you what’s going on at home and how they’re struggling to keep it all together, and you, a math teacher, or science, or history, or English or whatever teacher, are also sometimes a listening board.
You’ve got students who are acting crazy right now in class because they are not looking forward to Christmas Break, not looking forward to a couple weeks away from regular food, heat, and structure, and you.
You’ve got kids in your class who feel very alone right now. So let me say this: Thank you for being in those students’ lives.
Thank you for not just teaching the subject matter, even though that’s usually all you get evaluated for. Thank you for keeping granola bars in your desk. Thanks for listening to those parents during your planning time even though you have papers to grade. Thanks for stopping in the hallway so a kid can pour their heart out to you, or just giving them high fives. Thank you for being intentional about creating an atmosphere in your classroom that students do feel cared for and safe in.
This wasn’t in the job description- building a community; leading a community. They didn’t teach you how to deal with this stuff in teacher college. This isn’t what is assessed in the Common Core or on the SAT. Yet it is a part of your job, and one of the most difficult aspects of it.
But also one of the most important. The fact is, kids who feel they are apart of a community, a place they get to contribute, are listened to, are valued- generally will do better academically, mentally, and socially, regardless of the circumstances that they come from. This is something that you help give them by being that constant presence in their lives every day.
By greeting them at the door. By asking how they’re really doing. By creating activities that have them interacting with others, pulling them out of isolation.
You are having an impact in ways far more than you know.
So know this. Let it sink in. Remind yourself of the powerful work being done in your classroom. Know that the impact of that work is sometimes hard to measure or even to realize. But I promise you, if you are caring for your students, and making your classroom a community for them, you are having an impact.
And that’s why I think teaching is the greatest profession in the world.
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the work you are doing in your students’ lives.
Check out The Collaborative Classroom book.