A Slice of Life is a weekly blog hosted by a couple of wonderful writing teachers. Click on Two Writing Teachers to learn about this wonderful writing community, and how to use it to build a community of writers in your classroom!
There are so many pressures on teachers now, so many things we don’t have a choice in; the politics of teaching, the curriculum, sometimes even in the subjects we teach, the places we teach, or the philosophy of instruction where we teach. Ultimately though, none of that really matters when those students walk through the door. They don’t want to be seen as a test score on a school or teacher report card, or an FTE on a school roster – they just want to feel like they matter. They wonder, “Will my teacher like me? Will the kids in my class be nice to me? Will I feel safe? Will school be fun this year? I would like to think that they also wonder if they are going to learn amazing things – and I am hoping that one is on the list too – okay, I know it’s pretty far down there sometimes – but I hope it’s on there.
No, I can’t control all of that other stuff – it isn’t in my power to do so. But I do have the power to control what happens when they walk inside that classroom door. By the very tilt of my head and tone of my voice, I set the stage of what is to be for the next 9 months or so. That doesn’t seem like such a very long time – but in the life of a child it can seem like forever.
And come next spring when it is all over, all of that daily contact will have resulted in little pieces of me walking back out the door. This will be my twentieth year of teaching, and the one thing I have learned is that I want the pieces that they carry with them to be good pieces. I want them to take into their futures those pieces of me that are the best that I have to give - a passion for learning, the love of reading, the power to persevere when the going gets tough, and the capacity to see hope and light even when the corners are dark and the path is unsteady.
So, on that first day – I will be there with my “A Game” – with the best that I have to give, because that is all I have control over. That is where I have the power to make a difference. That is why I am here. That is why they call me “Teacher.”