I had a first experience that I've never had in 12 plus years as a classroom teacher. I had a parent pop in for an impromptu conference. My first thought was, "What's wrong?" I was bracing myself to be caught off guard, and I was.
This parent really did just want to connect, asked for my opinion about something, and then said, "Thank you for teaching. We need more people like you teaching." (I get a little lump in my throat just typing that.) I was caught off guard.
As a couple of days have passed, I'm struck by how truly rare those words are for teachers to hear. I know there is plenty of gratitude and also plenty of ingratitude, but it's so rare, as a teacher, to be in a position to really be open to hearing thank you. It also reminds me that I want to say thank you more--not just that automatic response, but from my heart. I've also had a parent prepare a scrumptious and healthy lunch for me this year--another first! This is another thing that has never happened before. That one I want to tuck away for when my son goes to school. It was incredible.
In both situations I felt like a valued human being. My questions today for us, brave teachers, is what are we doing that gives other people--kids and adults--that they are valued human beings?