Word Teachers’ Day was on October 5th 2017. It was a normal working day. Another day of giving my all to my wonderful students. But I will admit that I was disappointed that not one parent saw it fit to acknowledge the day. It’s like that in the school where I teach. Nevertheless, it didn’t affect my day and our staff was treated to breakfast and lunch courtesy our Principal.
However, today I was brought back to World Teachers’ Day when, as I was browsing Facebook, I saw a video about schools in Finland and their methods of educating which produce some of the highest ranked students in the world. Shortly after, I read a post about ‘unschooling’ and the freedom it affords students in finding what they love and learning all the ‘subjects’ along the way. Both methods seem to have the same goal – student happiness.
I thought about the education system that I was in and started to feel like I was totally wasting my life pretending to be a teacher. The sinking feeling was real.
Then I remembered what our Principal shared with us for the month of the teacher. “Think about the teacher that impacted you and what he/she did to make a difference in your life, then do that.”
As I reflected, I realized that for me, it had nothing to do with the curriculum. It was the teacher who took interest in me as a person. The teacher who loved my middle name so much he started calling me by it. The teacher who made me feel special for being the only friend of a girl who everyone else shunned. The other teacher who sat me down and asked about my family and home.
I remember the ones I disliked as well. The teacher who made class time feel like preparing for my beheading. The one who put me to the back of the class for not having my recorder – as if it were my fault my parents couldn’t afford it.
Then there were the ones who were just indifferent or partial. Did I become creative as an adult? No. So how come Art class was so dreary and Music was torture? I discovered that I was a natural at badminton and lawn tennis on the courts with borrowed rackets, but the PE teacher probably didn’t even know my name. In other words, they were uninspiring. They didn’t see what was in me.
So it was a time of reflection. What kind of teacher did I turn out to be? I’ve always believed in getting to know my students. But had I gotten lost in the constant meeting of deadlines, testing, record keeping, committee meetings, keeping up with the curriculum?
Then I remembered the students who gave me feedback that had nothing to do with curriculum. The one who remembered that I prayed and it really happened. Who said, “Prayer really works.” The one who said I was the kindest teacher to her. The one who said he wished I was his mummy; the one who said Mrs Mendoza is fun and the one who agreed, “But you are!”
So this is the reason I chose this quote to put on my classroom wall. “They don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”
I will do more to show that I care.
He made this all on his own and presented it to me.