Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 23 2008


As teachers, we rarely gets words of affirmation or appreciation….quite often we’re faced with phone calls, letters, concerns, questions, etc.

But every so often….once in a grand while….an administrator or a parent will step in and drop a tiny shining gold glimmering word. That word….that word sticks into a teacher’s mind with the strongest of prongs…lingering. those prongs simultaneously open the flood gates and all the stress and frustrations and late nights and long after-school tutoring hours, and seemingly endless weekends in the classroom melds into one elongated flood of emotion.

Teachers don’t teach for words of affirmation or acknowledgement or thank-you’s….no, we teach because we love kids. because we so desperately want to see them succeed. we want to give them hope. we want to rid their precious minds of the junk that fills their lives, diminish the ridicule that others use to convince them that they’re not good enough. diminsh the insufficiences and encourage their strengths…. open their eyes to how wonderfully special they are. we teach because we love kids.

but every once in awhile…even teachers need to hear that their hard work is appreciated. not often, but once in awhile.

today. today was that day.

a mother of one of my toughest students wrote me an email that shook me to the core. i sat at my desk, tears streaming down my cheeks as i read her thoughtful words…

“Ms. Judson, Thank you for working with us. When I tell parents how you changed Donovan’s direction, they all agree that you are a “true/real” teacher. Especially when I tell them that you have done twice as much for him than the private school. It’s a fact that the techniques you gave have made a huge difference but something about the “heart” of your teaching has made the greatest difference in our lives. Instead of blaming or attaching a medical problem to him—you went straight to the core. Something that I never shared with you, but at the start of the school year I was so stressed and afraid for Donovan before coming to Kaleiopu’u and your class. But, I stopped worrying soon after our very first meeting. I knew he had a teacher who really cared and had the tools to help. Again, thank you so much.”

I read the email over and over, the words blurred and i blinked desperately in order to read it just one more time.

once in awhile….just once in awhile, teachers need to hear that they are making a difference.

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