I know I am not the best teacher out there. Some days, I am lucky to be awake up in front of them. Some days, I have this amazing idea for a super awesome lesson, and it flops. It flops like Shamu. Usually that happens when your administrator walks into the room. That never fails. I am so glad that my first few years of teaching I had an administrator that had the ability to laugh with me and tell me to try again. Most days, we fire on most of our cylinders and get things done.
What I want my students to walk out of my room knowing is more than what I am standing up there attempting to teach. Yes, they have to know cool things like how many sex jokes are in Romeo and Juliet. But, I want them to learn some life lessons along the way too.
See, I know that great teachers don’t happen because they are great at teaching English. Yes, that is part of it. Great teachers happen because they care about kids. All kids. They happen because they love what they do. Even when it doesn’t love them. They love it even when the school board decides to terminate your contract. They love it even when they have been awake all night worrying about that one student. If you haven’t ever done that last one, just wait you will.
I wish my students knew how proud I am of them. All of them. Some of them have been given more lemons than high school kids should have ever been given. They are some of the most amazing people I have had the chance to know and be inspired by. Without our students, we are not teachers. We are simply people with an empty classroom and a degree. It is our students that make us teachers.
It is the students that challenge us that make us great teachers. Those kids that not only challenge us to find new ways to teach things, but challenge us to open our minds and our hearts. They make us great. I want my students to know without them, I would never be a teacher, let alone a great one.
Most of all I want them to know that they are loved. Even when they think they are unloveable, I love them. Learning happens best when you take care of the basics. Love them and they will learn.