Yesterday, I wrote about how a teacher is evaluated and the nonsense numbers that we earn that compose our evaluation score. I mentioned how teaching is one of the most humanistic of professions. In thinking about my post for today, I thought at first I would just speak about my students. It is that cliche teacher response, but we really are here because of the kids. But as I continued along that path, I realized that it goes beyond just the kids, although they are at the heart of what we do.
What I truly love the most about teaching are all of the people that are in my life because of the job I have chosen. I started to think about people who work at a desk, work from home or an office. Do other professions develop work-based relationships? Of course. But not in the way that a teacher does. First and foremost are the students, who I spend 10 months with. Reading with. Writing with. I get to know them personally through the work that takes place within the classroom. Through the extra time that I spend with them outside of class. I am someone that they will take with them as they move on, for better or worse. I am a part of their experience. And because of social media, I have been able to keep track of so many more of them. Watching them to continue to grow and become adults, become the people that I hoped they could be.
I realize that other professions have colleagues that become close. Maybe even are friends outside of work. But I think that educators form different kinds of relationships with each other. I have my building colleagues, my district colleagues, and my CDWP colleagues, who all support me in so many ways. Professionally and personally. The connections I have made are crucial to the work that I do. They challenge me, inspire me, and buoy me to in a job that can easily overwhelm an individual. I am so very lucky to have such an amazing network of people that truly care about me. (If you are one of the ones listed above, thank you!)
Lastly is the community in which I teach. I work within a culture that has always supported its teachers. We are told in many ways how much the work that we do is valued by all stakeholders. While we are currently in the process of negotiating our teachers contract, I have faith that those sitting at the table will do right by the people who, they say, matter. Who, they say, are talented, creative, and make a difference in our students' lives. I can only hope that the resolution aknowledges our passion and dedication for what we do. (Pardon my soapbox.)
To all of the people who have touched my teaching life: former teachers, mentors, colleagues, and students, know that I am who I am today because of you. I am in awe when I think of the sheer number of people who I have forged a connection with over these past 15 years. Too bad that isn't the number that matters most.