Where are the Amazing Teachers? Closer Than You think!

This weeks posts=Teachers #1

Many people in many states are wondering, where are the awesome teachers? The one’s that will change the lives of their children, the one’s that will make the world a better place. I see posts on Facebook of parents excited (or not) over the teacher their child has for the upcoming year.

For me this is much like a lost set of keys. Sometimes you can look so hard you miss what is right in front of you. To realize the quality of those I am surrounded by I had to put myself out there. I applied to the New York State Master Teacher program where we had to teach a 10 minute lesson to other teachers. I was in a room with 6 other science teachers. All high level people. All striving to be apart of this program. As I sat nervously awaiting my presentation I observed the others. At one point I said “Wow-there are some amazing educators in this room”.

It took that lens. That step back for me to realize who I was surrounded by. Following that interview experience I stepped back in my own school. Rather than being a domineering force, I became more observant. I found myself in a perpetual state of awe at the work of those I am surrounded by.

My state of awe increased conversation with colleagues about their work in the classroom. We discussed the strategies they were using to peak interest and engage students. The ideas for ‘big lessons’ or ‘risky lessons’ they had. The great things that they are able to scaffold so students feel successful. The challenges they had with some. The success’ they have with others. These amazing educators were just outside my door, every day.

Through our conversations I also realize that my colleagues felt like I did. They are overwhelmed and dismayed by the general education ecosystem we were in. They were also optimistic about our work and what our students can accomplish. They are creative with strategies to navigate around the obstacles that lay ahead. They realize their role in shaping our community to be the best it can be and the role that our students will eventually play in it.

They are AMAZING.

Talking with friends in other school I can say that our world is filled of AMAZING educators. Educators who care about students. Educators who care about the future. There is no need to look any further. Where are the amazing educators?

Standing in the classrooms of your school. You didn’t lose your keys or your teachers. You’ve been so busy looking you’ve missed what is right in front of you.

 

 

 

 

The One That Got Away

Dear A~~~~~~,

As I look around the gym I notice that you didn’t show up for your final. And honestly, my heart sank. Part of me wondered why I thought you would come given your frequency of attendance this past quarter. I couldn’t help but think that you were going to be the one that didn’t get away.

I don’t know if you remember your first assignment for Chemistry last fall. It was the student and parent survey. You claimed you were going to make more of an effort to attend and be engaged in school. You talked about clubs you were going to become involved in, people you were going to work with. It seemed as though you were invested in making school a place you wanted to stay. Why didn’t we make sure that actually happened?

What I remember most was your surprise when you handed in the papers and saw that your mother had written something on the parent one. I have poured over that paper for hours since receiving it. I actually called your mom, several times, about the comment she wrote “I hope that A~~~~~ does not do what I did and stop going to school. He needs it. I wish I had gone”. I shared that paper with a few of your teachers and we were optimistic that you would stay.                

Knowing that I can’t help but think there is something I could have done for you to help you see the value of coming to school, even when you just want to go to bed. We were thrilled when you responded to our emails. Even more excited when you said you had no intentions of not making it. But since the weekend before Memorial Day, we haven’t seen you. This worries us. Because we do understand and we do care.

The year got off to a great start for you too. I was excited to see your involvement with the color run. Your pictures truly outlined the spirit of the day. After the first and second quarters your attendance was 2x what it had been the previous year. Discussions of reinstituting a school wide photographer or having you teach Mr.——’s kids about photography were going on. There was so much hope that we could help you overcome the ‘junior year’ hurdle.

As your teachers, we were able to see what you are capable of achieving. The awesome work you are able to do. While we don’t live your life and none of us have ever experienced what you are, we are aware of the consequences for not graduating high school. We know that the GED test is now pretty hard and that you might need that someday to follow/pursue your dreams. We have shared with you how great your photography is and the challenges with securing steady employment with only highlights of that skill. It is still unbelievable to me that with such great talents and supports you are the one that got away.

While your emails in April and brief appearance in May gave us hope it also instilled some fear. We are also worried about your sadness, lack of motivation to come to school or to do anything. We understand the health insurance situation, something the school has resources to help you with that you may otherwise struggle to find.

We don’t want you to feel bad for us. We want you to know that your future is in your hands. We are simply here to cheer you on, throw you a life-jacket, and give you a hand when needed. Please know, when next September comes around the door will be wide open and there will be loving arms welcoming you, excited to see you and hopeful that we can overcome these hurdles.

Truly,

Ms. Zullo and Your teachers