I can think of a couple of students whose parents fit the bill. It saddens me, but I cannot be anyone other than who I am and who I was created to be. I tell my students, “You will never have another teacher on this Earth exactly like me, and that is truly a shame.” It’s not meant to be narcissistic, but it is true. Other educators will be similar to me or remind the students/parents of me, but there will never be one who is my exact duplicate.
I’ve even told my tougher classes that I would lay down my life for them. Whether they believe me or not is not my problem, but it is my heartfelt responsibility to give the younger generation a chance to live their lives. The sensitive souls’ eyes tear up when I’ve said this statement. Their hugs are the longest at the end of the year because they know I meant what I said.
The key thing to remember is that in life, we encounter people who don’t always agree with us or get along with us. This is okay. It is not acceptable to bash teachers who work their tails off, lose hours with their families, and compete with all of the new technology and information overload available. Please walk at least one week in my shoes when they are excited about summer vacation for the last six weeks of the school year, and some of them mentally check out. “We’re finished with our STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) tests. That means no homework, right?” Wrong! Please grow eyes in the back of your head to watch simultaneously in the hallway and the classroom. Please attempt to motivate students who lack the intrinsic drive to accomplish a task that needs to be completed. Make them read books they despise in May. Give them writing assessments, and insist that they use good grammar at all possible times. Hold your tongue when an adolescent makes a sarcastic comment that flays open your skin. Substitute in a classroom on a Friday in the spring semester, and toss out the lesson plan because “it seems silly.” Go ahead, I dare you. The majority of my students are model citizens. The vocal minority consume my time, efforts, and energy because some parents did not invest the time to read to their children, to listen to their children, and to discipline (correct lovingly) their children. I cannot undo the damage of eleven or twelve years in ten or so months, yet I (and thousands of other quality educators) make the valiant attempt every single year. Please don’t blame teachers; help them.