With the demographic I teach, I'm rarely told that I'm appreciated.
And don't get me wrong.
I don't do this because I need to be praised.
But I work my hiney off.
Every single day.
The baggage my kids bring to the table becomes part of my baggage.
I don't leave my kids "in the classroom" at 4:00pm each day.
They are ALWAYS with me.
Everything I do is with them in mind.
While I'm at the grocery store, I'm planning activities for next week in my head.
I spend countless dollars on materials for them.
I put a lot of time, thought, and effort into homework assignments, projects, and lessons.
And unfortunately, the parents of my students don't often realize it.
So I'd been feeling very undervalued lately.
I was tired of dealing with mean/ignorant parents.
I was tired of being graded on a rubric for my teaching.
I was tired of "teaching to the test," and following all the rules and procedures placed on me by the Department of Education.
I'd been thinking horrible thoughts like,
"Why bother sending this home? The parents won't read it anyway."
Or, "I don't know why I put in so much effort...it's never going to make a difference."
But just when I needed it the most, I think God gave me the following.
At Parent/Teacher Conferences:
"Thank you so much for all you're doing for her."
"You're really a great teacher and I appreciate you putting your heart into your job."
"My wife and I were just talking the other day about how much more our daughter has learned in your class than her older sisters knew in Kindergarten. You're doing excellent."
"I'm so glad she's in your class. I feel that she's very safe when she's with you."
"I hope my son can be in your class when he's old enough for Kindergarten."
"My first grader wants to come back to Kindergarten just to be with you again!"
It was an amazing day.
I finally got what I needed...the affirmation that I AM appreciated, even if I don't always feel it.
I AM impacting these kids, and in some cases, their parents.
I'm so grateful for the gratitude I received.
It meant more to me than these parents will ever know.
Then today, we had a Professional Development day at school, to kick off our Spring Break.
Here were some of the quotes I took away from the presentations.
"On the first day of school, you have 190 days left. That's all the time you'll ever get to make an impact on this specific child."
"You are important. What you do matters."
"Do what you know is right for your students. And don't apologize for it."
"Who cares if you get all 4's on your teaching rubric? You didn't go into teaching to get all 4's. You went into teaching because you wanted to make a difference. So do that. And don't feel bad about it."
"Make sure you do whatever you can to make sure that your students will be able to read bedtime stories to their children some day."
It was an amazing week.
I'm already excited to get back to my kiddos after Spring Break.
I'm so passionate about what I do.
I care so much for my students.
And as of this week, I'm more confident in the fact that what I'm doing makes a difference and matters.
I love what I do.