Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Teachers Don't Need Capes to Be Heroes

"Teaching is the profession that creates all other professions." 

Where would you be today without your favorite teacher?  You know, the one who believed in you.  The one who didn't give up on you.  Even when you pushed them away and gave them all the reasons to not want to help you...  Where would you be without your teacher hero?  I'm scared to think about how different my life would have been had I not had the wonderful and inspiring teachers I had most of my school career.   But one in particular will always stand out.  

When I was in fifth grade, I was as awkward as it gets.  Braces, series of unfortunate fashion choices, awful short hair cut.... (Mental pictures will just have to do...) It was a time of uncertainty and insecurity.  It didn't help that 5th grade was our first year out of elementary school, when cool and uncool become EXTREMELY transparent.  As you can guess from my description earlier, I was not part of the cool crowd.    I was teased all the time, and I didn't have any friends.   My emotions got the best of my studies. I began to not care about my grades or organization.  I didn't care about participation or completing any work.  I was even hiding my progress reports that showed my declining grades.

My teacher hero stopped my downward spiral with one comment.  


She kept me after class one day and made me clean out my desk.  We went through every single paper and she showed me that it wasn't a question of how smart I was.  It was a question of how bad I wanted to succeed.  
She also listened to my story.  I unleashed all the feelings I'd been holding in all year and she just listened.  
When I was done we made a plan to help me with organization and helped keep me accountable for things.  

By the end of the year I'd turned things completely around.  I was getting As and Bs instead of Cs and Ds.  When it came time for the end of the year awards she saved my award for last.  With tears in her eyes she announced that the last award went to someone who had to learn this lesson the hard way but never gave up.  She gave me the perseverance award.  I gave her a gigantic hug and walked away proudly.  

It has taken me over 11 years of school and 4 years of my own experience with teaching to really comprehend how much of an impact she made on me that year.  

What if:
She'd ignored my signs of help?
She'd let me keep slipping by with awful grades?
She'd not listened to my side of the story?
She'd not given me a plan of action and kept me accountable?

Would I be the woman... no the teacher I am today?!

Thank you for spending your precious free time and own money to make your room and class a more engaging place for learning.
Thank you for pursuing higher ed and professional development because you want to be the best at your profession.
Thank you for giving that parent a positive phone call that makes their day because you praised their child.  
Thank you for sharing and working collaboratively with your coworkers to ensure all kids get a wonderful education.
Thank you for coming in when you're feeling under the weather sub plans are nearly rigorous or motivating as yours are.
Thank you for your joy and excitement that you bring to learning.
Thank you for loving each and every student... even the ones that ask for it in the most unloving ways.
Thank you for your hugs, high fives, and words of praise to kids who don't always get it at home.

Thank you for believing in all of your students... 
because you never know which of your students could grow up one day to be just like you!

Teachers Pay Teachers is thanking all teachers today, and I am too!  In my store, Ride Away With Mrs. Ridgway, items are 20% off, but even more exciting news you can save an extra 10% in any store when you type in the code HEROES at the check out.  

Make sure you take the time to thank your teacher hero!  Share your inspiration because teachers sometimes need to be reminded about just how wonderful they truly are.  

1 comment:

  1. I love your post! Thanks so much for writing about your special teacher. It's so clear how much she meant to you and it makes my heart happy that you had someone like that in your life!

    That said, you... awkward? Not buying it, gorgeous :) Have a great day and thanks for linking up!