As a teacher, I get lots of awesome moments. From kids, parents, colleagues….I’m lucky like that.
But last week, I had a number of awesome teacher moments that occurred during Parent Teacher Interview week. Interview after interview, late nights, dinner in the school canteen three nights in a row….and yes, it was still awesome. There were many. Moments where I walked away from an interview thinking, "I have the best job in the world.' There were two though that really stuck with me....
Awesome moment 1
During one particular interview a parent asked me if there was any chance that I was going to teach this same grade again in Year 2. This is huge...read on and I’ll tell you why.
Awesome moment 2
I received the most beautiful email of my entire teaching career, expressing not just thanks but complete gratitude for the hours of work that she, as parent, never sees. For the obvious love and care that I show her child and for supporting both her and her little one. Again, huge.
And I’ll tell you why. Because as teachers, the pattern is usually (definitely not always), that we hear from parents when something is wrong. And to hear about the things that are going right, that the things that I am striving for every day are having an impact….this is huge. Whether you are a school teacher, a ballet teacher, a soccer coach, a tae kwon do master….I’m sure you get it. For some of the parents you work with, the only time you get feedback, is when you get it wrong!
You see, for this first parent to ask if there was any chance that his daughter may have me again next year, tells me that I am getting something right. For that second parent to send me that email, from a place of complete gratitude, tells me that I am doing something right. That I am not just teaching the curriculum, or just creating engaging lessons….it tells me that the relationship that I have developed with their families, and in particular my amazing students, is mutual. That they can see, feel and appreciate the investment that I have made in their beautiful kids.
I completely get that you have to let teachers know when things are heading south. I completely understand that you might be concerned about your child’s learning, or their friendships or the fact that you disagree with how I handled something. This is part of my job. I am not perfect, your child is not perfect and we need to have that relationship that allows me to have those discussions with you.
But when you get those moments when parents really take the time to thank you, to let you know that they get how hard you work for the benefit of their child, or to recognise just how emotionally invested you are in your ‘job’, this is huge. It’s tear worthy! And you would probably be surprised at how many teachers have a little tear when they do get that moment with a parent!
So, thank you to those that gave me that boost in Week 10 of Term 2. After weeks of writing, editing and publishing reports, after a week of parent teacher interviews, after 6 months of building that amazing relationship with each of my students and watching them grow. Thank you for the amazing constructive conversation that we had, where we discussed what wasn’t working and what we needed to change. But thank you most of all, for thanking me.