Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Student's Speech.... and Promise to Herself

Every once in awhile, something happens in your classroom that reaffirms why you do what you do with your students every day, something that makes all the sweat, tears, aggravation, and hard work worth it. I was fortunate enough to have such an instance happen to me last week with a special student. At the end of a particularly long and difficult school day, this student presented me with a speech she had just written for herself in the Media Center, saying I inspired her to write it. I have retyped some of it below with her permission:

My Speech

Ever since I was a little girl, I always seemed to put myself down and tell myself that I just couldn't do this. But now that I'm moving onto high school, I've learned from other people and teachers that you should always have confidence in yourself and say, "I can do this." You should NEVER say, "No, I can't go on anymore. I can't do this." You shouldn't say you're stupid either. You just say that because either your friends say that to you or some other people, like for example your parents, older sisters, or brothers. You should never try to act like someone else just to make your friends think you're cool because you have those bad grades of yours. Those people aren't going to help you in anything later on in life!

Maybe they're the ones that are going to get their college degree and you're the one who'se gonna get left behind for listening to them. I know that later on in life as an adult, I'm gonna look back at those days and say, "Oh my God! I can't believe I was that immature!" I will just look at those younger teenagers that act stupid and foolish because I know that's what I do now ... the bad words, acting all stupid and cool, and trying to be a person that you're not. But now I realize that what I'm doing right now isn't worth it. I don't want to be the one left behind and working at McDonald's. I want to have a good career and make my parents happy so I can feel proud of myself. I want to have a good life and tell my children that they shouldn't be doing the stuff I did, like skip class, be tardy to class, or be disrespectful to the teachers ... and stuff like that.

Now what I'm going to do is just pay attention to myself and not get influenced by others because I definitely know that they're not gonna help with paying for my car or paying for my house and food. I'm going to succeed in life and get through high school -- and make it!!

She then signed her name, dated the speech, and wrote, "One day I'm gonna look back at this and smile."

I then asked her to have each of her teachers and the principal read and sign her words. Another teacher ashed her to keep this letter to herself in her binder and read it every day.

The last day before spring break, the principal read this letter with the student in the morning and came to visit me. She said, "Don't ever doubt the difference you are making with this kids."

It is precious moments like these, my friends, that truly remind me WHY I teach. I thanked the student for writing such a beautiful letter and having the courage to share her words with the adults who care so much about her.

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