1.31.2013

What Makes It Worth It {A Moment in the Life of a Teacher}

Occasionally, my students surprise me.

Like when they exclaim in June, after a year of calling me Mrs., “You’re married?!”

Or, when they announce, “My feet smell good today.” (They definitely did not smell good that day.) I say, “Oh?” and they say, “Yeah, I put perfume on them this morning.”

Or, when given permission to go rinse out their mouth because they have been hacking incessantly, they head to the hand sanitizer machine, and then wonder why I am shouting STOP across the room in horror.

Each time one of these things happen, I am officially no longer shocked by one more piece of the mysterious and highly erratic adolescent brain.

But sometimes, I am caught off-guard in an ever-so-sweet way by those same adolescent brains. Like when this note greeted me the day after I was out sick…

Picture1

…and when a note like this showed up on my desk, just because.

DSC_1211Those corny videos she mentions? They began with this one.

Neither of the two students who left those notes “look good” on paper. On paper, those two students will probably make me, in the eyes of the state of New York, look like a teacher “in need of improvement.” They entered their 7th grade year with impossible deficits in reading and writing, and 42 minutes five days a week can only move so much of a mountain, if I am being completely honest with myself.

This is not to say I don’t bring my biggest, baddest shovel with me every day.

But I now have, in my permanent possession, proof of them on paper that means so much more than their test scores.

Those two kids may struggle to discern an author’s tone, and analyze the meter of a poem, and correctly combine two sentences to create a subordinate clause…but those two kids can make their English teacher thank God for sending sweet reminders of why she chose this career in the first place. And they kind of make her get all mushy and smile-y in the process.

They make it worth it. Every. single. day.

22 comments :

  1. Awwww this is such a sweet post. Keep doing what you're doing! :)

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  2. I'll tell you from an old mother, it only takes one teacher to make all the difference in a student's life. My son, who is now 31 yrs old, was a struggling student who could not even read a 3-letter word by the 2nd grade. I knew he needed more help than he was getting, so I researched TX state education laws and got our small south TX school district to test him. But it wasn't until we moved to Austin when he was in 5th grade that things truly began to turn around for him. The elementary we enrolled him in for 5th grade was brand new and his teacher suggested that we purchase a computer if we could. We got one the very next day and that evening when I got home from work, our son was READING the computer manual. I started crying. He had never read any book on his own. Our son is now an accomplished, very well-known 3D computer artist that works for a company in Houston that does cutting-edge 3D computer printing of objects. If it had not been for that one teacher putting us - and him - on that path, I don't know where he would be today. I invited her to his college graduation and I still keep in touch with her periodically to let her know how he's doing because I think she deserves to know what an impact she made in all our lives.

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  3. It shocks me that you would include corny videos in your teaching. ;)

    Sweet post!

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  4. Anonymous1/31/2013

    Amen, girl! Just discovered your blog today and saw this post. I taught 3rd grade for 11 years (currently staying home with a 3 year old) and you sometimes wonder what sort of impact you are making. Until one of these notes appears and you realize life is NOT all about those test scores, despite what the education powers-that-be keep telling us. Keep it up!!

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  5. How sweet! I love this post. :)

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  6. i totally agree.... you need to see this if you haven't already...
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3378251068496&set=o.335853427427&type=1&theater

    teachers make all the difference sometimes.

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  7. Awww I loved this post. So heart warming and sweet. You are an amazing teacher- I can know that without having seen you teach. Keep doing what you're doing - you're making a difference!

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  8. Awesome! It sounds you've been teaching similes ;)

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    Replies
    1. hahaha it would appear that way, wouldn’t it…:)

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  9. LOVED this! That's exactly what public school needs: more teachers like Mrs. Mufford. Yay for getting "paid" in sweet notes. :)

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  10. Aww! That is so precious! That's gotta be an amazing feeling! :)

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  11. This post made me smile. Kids are so amazing. No matter what the test scores say, I bet they are going to make huge impacts for good in their lives. It looks like they already do!

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  12. You are making a huge difference in the lives of those kids. They may not be able to correctly put punctuation in a sentence, but they will remember you forever.

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  13. Wow, that is so sweet! I think teaching would be so exhausting, kudos to you!! And that video is so funny, Rita! :)

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  14. Awesome!
    (Could you please translate the portion which reads, "Your eye are gloemy like roes...?)

    I have a stash of such notes in my stacked/packed boxes housing yesteryear's teaching occupation. It's been wonderful to have a few of those students search me out on facebook & reconnect so they tell me about their teaching careers, husbands & babies...

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    1. Ummm I need help translating that myself. I should have asked her what it said...

      Isn’t it nice to look back on those? Especially on bad days. I haven’t being doing this long enough to have any students with careers of their own or husbands, but I did run into one of the kids I student taught 5 years ago; he had just graduated. That was cool. :)

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  15. Oh, that's so cute! You must be a wonderful teacher =)

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    Replies
    1. I don't know...but I try to do the best I can. :)

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  16. You tell it like it IS, Ayisha!

    Erin, you inspire me beyond recognition. There's not a chance in the world that I would be where and how I am (in life, teaching, intelligent) without you. This is the type of thing that reminds me of how lucky I am to have you as a sister. Love you!

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  17. Lump. In. Throat.

    You're doing great things. Keep it up. :)

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  18. Anonymous2/08/2013

    LOL! I have a note from a five year old Erin who asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told her diamond earrings. The note says, "Thes are your dimin erings and tha are for you." She told me they were not real diamonds, but they were just as shiny! Isn't it wonderful to receive those special notes?! They make teaching the best profession of all! With love from your Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. McCarthy!

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  19. Anonymous2/25/2013

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    ReplyDelete

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