Last night, I watched the documentary special, Teach, on CBS. It is my understanding that the documentary was made to encourage people to go into the teaching profession. I'm not sure that is what I got out of it, but it was certainly inspiring to me. I then read a post by Christi at Mrs. Fultz's Corner today about her take on the teaching profession and felt a nagging to share my thoughts.
I saw a few posts on blogs and on Facebook about Teach leading up to the airing last night, and I had it in the back of my mind that I was going to watch it. I sent my mom a text just as it was starting because she tends to like nonfiction television.
I watched Teach while working on things for school during commercials. I was glued to the TV throughout the show because I was surprised how well I felt I knew those teachers who I've never met. Their passion for teaching and their students' learning was exactly what I want to be for my students. I cried with the teachers and parents as they got their final scores back, and my heart broke for the little girl who the teacher had to keep going back a level to find her reading level. For each child they profiled, I identified "that child" in my teaching career. Though I am only in my 10th year of teaching, I've had ups and downs, highs and lows, struggling students and bright students, but they have all impacted the way I view my profession and how I help my students learn and grow.
My mom and I went shopping together today, and the topic of Teach came up. Here was my mom's take: "I watched that show you sent me a text about last night. That is exactly what you tell me teaching is like. I could see you in those teacher's shoes." I made me smile that watching that show helped her "get it" when I tell her about my day.
I frequently struggle with the amount of time needed to be the teacher I aspire to be. I've been told on more than one occasion that I spend way too much time on school material. I tell my students, "I expect nothing less than your best." Is every student in my class going to aspire to be the next President or go to an Ivy League school? No, they aren't, but I do expect them all to do their best and and I expect myself to do all I can to help them reach their potential.
As a kindergarten teacher, I see students grow by leaps and bounds throughout the year. They come in, some having never been to school at all, unable to identify or write their names and by the time May rolls around, they are reading. I had a student 4 years ago who struggled in all he did. He eventually received IEP services. I had him for 2 years and loved every second of watching him grow. Was it a struggle at times? ABSOLUTELY! This summer, I received a message from his mom telling me that he passed the state reading assessment. Yep, I cried; then I told basically everyone I knew because even though he is no longer in my class, he is still "my student", and I celebrate everything he accomplishes because I know how hard it was for him to get there. Those are the moments that make me keep me going on a bad day. His picture sits by my teacher area to remind me that every child can succeed, and that success looks different for every child. I love my students, and they deserve only the best life has to offer. It isn't always easy, but their smiles and learning are worth it!
Did you watch Teach? If you did, please share your thoughts in a comment. If you didn't, what keeps you inspired as a teacher? I'd love to hear your thoughts! I'd also love to have you join me on this adventure by following my blog.