The 5thgrade teacher at our school posted this lovely piece:
“Every year I get prematurely nostalgic in January when we get our class picture. It’s a reminder that this will become my memory of them. That this will be taped to the wall, along with the other eleven. That our relationship, as we know it has a known end point. That they will pass me in the hall next year and not say hi and I will be devastated.
Each class becomes my family. I think about them, brag about them to anyone who will listen, and I love them madly. I put our class picture on the fridge and when friends come over for dinner, I bring it with me to the table so I can show them the faces behind my stories. They point at a child in the front row, hands neatly tucked in their lap and I squeal their name. “Oh, I LOVE her!” They they point to a student in the back row, shoulders pinched back and stern face. “I LOVE HIM!”
Teacher training programs don’t talk about love. We don’t have professional development about love. It’s never been the trending buzz word. There aren’t thousands of scholarly articles about how to incorporate love into your teaching. It can be scowled at, as if it’s an unprofessional word to use. Yet it is the key to everything. To unlocking students’ worth, humanity, potential, growth.
I will never forget what a student said when prompted for examples of how to use “show, don’t tell” in writing- “So instead of writing, ‘Talia loves us,’ writing ‘Talia touches her hand to her heart when she teaches?’ “ There was an immediate unanimous nod- “You do do that!” It’s true. I will be the first to list my shortcomings as a teacher and it’s long, but I can confidently say that I teach with my hand constantly on my heart. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now that’s a teacher who all children deserve. That’s a teacher who has stepped up to the challenge of her calling. That’s a teacher who offers a model to which all teachers should aspire.
And she is my daughter.