My husband excels at many things. One of those things is teaching. Larry is one of those rare people who slip into the teacher mode like one would slip on a glove, no matter what he is doing. He currently works with middle school students, but when he is working with Zane's soccer team, he is equally at ease. He is the one who spends the time to work with Zane on sight words, counting. He's the one who explains things to him using smaller words so he understands. I have never had the patience for that stuff.
When I met my husband, he taught 8th grade. For their novels, his students read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Nobody ever told those kids that the trilogy was way above their reading level, but my husband knew. How do you instill a love of reading and writing in kids with books well above their reading level? They read the books together. They read aloud in class. He read to them in the voices of the characters, and they loved it. Those kids would do anything to hear Larry read aloud, including their homework! And by the end of the year, those students were reading those books by themselves. Oh, and they passed the state test, too. I remember how excited Larry used to be about teaching, days when he was practically bouncing with glee because another kid had come up and asked him questions about Tolkien. Kids that Larry didn't even know were begging to be in his classes. Parents were calling the school and asking for their kid, because a friend of a friend's son or daughter learned so much in Larry's class.
These days Larry has been feeling unappreciated, to the point that he doesn't even know if he wants to be a teacher anymore. Yes, it's that bad. No matter what he does, it's not good enough this year, it seems. But sometimes, when things are dark, a little ray of sunshine appears. A student sent Larry an email a few weeks ago:
That email made Larry's day, and made him think that he was in the right job after all.
Larry can't be the only teacher out there feeling unappreciated. If you know a great teacher out there, take a moment to send them a note of thanks. Because there isn't an adult out there--doctors, lawyers, rock stars, police officers, scientists--who hasn't had at least one great teacher influence their lives.
It's time to say thank you.