Friday, May 11, 2007

Teacher Appreciation -- For the Love of the Job!

You can pay people to teach, but you can’t pay them to care.
~Marva Collins

It's the teachers who love what they do that will get the most from the experience! It's the teachers that have a passion for their job that the students find themselves being drawn too. The students are drawn to the individual in the sense of wanting to take in what the teacher shares with them; they want to learn from that teacher.

It doesn't take a genius to pick out which teachers are passionate about their role. The kids can pick up on it, just as individuals who do not sit in the classroom on a daily basis can see it. A passionate teacher is visible outside the classroom. A passionate teacher radiates his/her love for their profession where-ever he/she goes. Sure, this is true for professionals in different areas as well, but teachers can hold a special joy for the role they have taken on.

Can you think of the teachers/professors that go above and beyond what's written into their contract as part of their job description? Sure, many of us do not see those contracts, but I can bet you it doesn't require the teacher to attend school sporting events to cheer their students on. I bet it doesn't require the teacher to email/call home about students who are excelling in their classes. I bet it doesn't require the teacher to become an adult volunteer/mentor for the school community service club. I think you get the point. And if that isn't enough, you could go into just about any classroom and take a look around and I would bet that 100% of the things/supplies you see in that classroom were not covered financially by the school district.
Many teachers are not hesitant to open their own checkbooks to do what they can to better help their students grasp the concepts they are trying to relay on to them.

It's the teachers who go above and beyond their call-for-duty that have the passion and love for their job. These teachers love the presence of their students. They love to see them succeed. They love to see them when they are not afraid to get back up and try again after they have failed. It's the teacher that sees the student who struggles academically and/or behaviorally and views the situation as a challenge to overcome rather than a burden to embrace--it's THAT teacher that understands the love necessary for teaching. It is the challenges in a teaching situation which determines which instructors are in it whole-heartedly, rather than those who are half-heartedly going through the motions anxiously awaiting the summer "break."

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.
~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It's a matter of having the heart for the profession. A heart for wanting to see students succeed! It's the heart of the best teachers that produces a love that is possibly as close to a mother's love toward a child as any non-parental figure can have toward the specific student. The best teachers want to see their students succeed more than anything. The best teachers will go to the extremes necessary to aid their students in learning. But the passion and love goes beyond academic standards. The best teachers care about their students well-being...

It's the best teachers whose actions toward their students speak greater than their words or lectures. Recently, I found myself in complete amazement of how caring teachers are of their students...

I had found myself checking out the new postcards posted on the Postsecret site. My best friend and I typically check them out the first day they are posted and discuss them over instant messenger. We'll talk about the ones we like, or ask if this one or that one belongs to the other of us...HA! Well, this particular day there had been a couple of cards referencing teaching. The first picture in this post was one of them, and the other one was this...

I liked the postcard. Of course, my immediate thought was "favorites." As "unbiased" as we all claim to be sometimes, we do still play "favorites." I mean we all have our favorite teachers/professors, so it'd be absurd to think teachers don't have their "favorite" students.

Well my friend brought up this card in our conversation and said, "the thing about the list of kids during a disaster is so true...hahaha...we had a tornado drill not too long ago, and I found myself 'shielding' certain kids."

I, of course, laughed and in my typical manner responded with a smart-alec remark and said, "way to play favorites ;-) "

It was then my friends responding comment that left me speechless. It was her remark that made me realize that the best teachers really are more than just someone teaching your kids. Her comment not only gave me a new found respect for her as a person (and of course as a teacher), but it also reminded me that there ARE still good people in this world that aren't just looking out for "number one." My friend responded to my "favorites" comment with this...

"nah, it's not even that they were favorites, but that i knew if they got hurt, no one would be there for them, but that if some of my other kids got hurt, their parents/families would take care of them."

I literally sat there and just stared at the response and thought how selfish I was for not being able to even fathom such an idea. I honestly, would never have thought of something so sacrifical as that. Sure, it's one thing to be willing to protect your students as a teacher, but to think beyond the point of protection and realizing you can't help them all, thinking of who would need it the most, NOT simply who you'd want to help the most.

THAT, my friends, is the thought that will remain with me for years to come on when considering how passionate and loving teachers can be. They literally can be the educators and protectors of our children!


I hope ALL the teachers/professors out there have had a GREAT Teacher Appreciation Week! Blessings upon each and every one of you as you continue along with such a challenging, yet rewarding career path! Continue to inspire and be inspired. And don't hesitate to share your findings with the rest of us! You are given such an amazing opportunity to reachout to our youth in more ways than many of us are able too! Take advantage of it for good! Best wishes!


Jennifer said...

I appreciate your appreciation! Judging from the lack of comments, anyone can tell easily who your subject is! We don't even have time to read it!

And although I do mostly agree with your passionate vs. halfhearted going through the motions post, we're all ready for summer! At this point, even the most passionate are counting down the days.

Another big factor that has to do with a teacher's passion/dedication/love for her job has alot to do with her school environment. (Environment having more to do with the other adults you're dealing with than the kids.) Teaching is an interesting thing.

Brandon & Dee said...

Your blog led me to post secret several months ago, maybe even a year ago. I check it every Monday! Thanks for giving me that tip! I love reading your blog. Your social worker mind is a lot like mine.