LTE: On Being a Teacher

Teacher Appreciation

“For most of us, teaching is not just what earns our paycheck. Teaching is what we were put on Earth to do.”

When I came across Robert John Meehan’s quote recently, I couldn’t help but reflect on how grateful I am to be surrounded by the embodiment of those words in the most extraordinary colleagues who continually challenge themselves to be better today than they were yesterday. So much of what a teacher does each day will never be seen by others.

I’m so honored to say, I see you. I see you in August, weeks before your kids will enter your classroom, pulling in the cart of supplies you purchased to make sure your classroom is a place your kids will feel at home. I see you, before and after school, hanging student work, catching up on the emails that filled your box while you were teaching, revising the lessons you spent all weekend working on because of what you saw your students do that day. And the list goes on.

I see you eating your lunch on the way to the copier so that you can squeeze in another team meeting this week during “lunch” to check out the newest app, plan this week’s science lessons and complete the data sheets, all before making it on time to your recess duty. I see you meeting with the parent early in the morning to brainstorm ideas for how to help the child you’re both concerned about. I see you switch between silly and strategic at a moment’s notice to give your kids exactly what they need on the spot.

I see you take the concerns you have about “your kids” home with you each night as you try to find space for your family at home. I see your tears of pride as the student who was always unsure about himself steals the show in the starring role of the school play. I see your frustration as you advocate with everything you have for what you know your students need against a wall of mandates.

I see you in the bittersweet moments in June when you consider the peace that will come with being able to take a breath, and the angst that will come with needing to let your kids move on while you consider what else you could have done to support them with just one more day. I see you turning yourself inside out to lead the way.

Todd Whitaker said, “The best thing about teaching is that it matters. The hardest thing about teaching is that it matters every day!” You need to know everything you do is making a positive difference, and for some, you’re making all the difference.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Michelle Jacobs

First-grade teacher
Warwick Elementary School
Central Bucks School District

Credit: The Intelligencer