Educators are Only Human

Flickr photo by wonderlane, CC BY-NC 2.0
Flickr photo by wonderlane, CC BY-NC 2.0

Educators do superhuman jobs, yet are only human.

We struggle with emotions, personal problems, low wages, student behavior, and the heavy burden of educating society with lack of resources.
We continue to give knowing we will receive a lot less in return. It seems we spend most of our careers fighting administrators, educational policy, students, parents, infrastructure, time constraints, and budgets.
However, you manage to do an incredible job day after day, month after month, and year after year.
What makes you continue to fight the fight?
Teachable moments

The struggling student who tells you what a difference you made

The parent who tells you, “I appreciate you!”

The knowledge that you make a difference

The educator you helped mentor

For me, it is all the above, but especially my students. My students are my main source of inspiration and the work they produce makes me proud. I stay motivated by knowing I push my students and they continue to meet the challenges beyond my expectations, while appreciating the journey. This is reward enough and I am looking forward to the upcoming year’s challenges and prepared to continue to fight the fight!

Recall a moment in your career where you saw you made a real difference in a student’s life. Care to share?

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0 thoughts on “Educators are Only Human

  1. One moment I had like that was four or five years ago when our valedictorian was interviewed by the local paper as is the tradition. The paper asks these heads of the class such things as future plans, how will you change the world, etc. The interviewer asked her who had the greatest influence on her success and she said it was me. She didn’t tell me about the interview, instead the school librarian found it and gave it to me. Now that former student is an educator herself. Stuff like that is just awesome!

  2. This year a student listed me as one of their greatest influences in the year book. I have never taught this student. But I made the time to take an interest in her athletic ability, try and help with some decisions about that, and help her with some tutoring sometimes. It was an amazing honour to find out I’d impacted on her as I didn’t think I’d really done anything out of the ordinary for a teacher.

  3. Hi Shelly,
    Thanks for the encouragement to reflect on our teaching experiences.
    I’ve never realised about it because it’s part of my personality but many students of mine have made comments about my positive attitude. One of them wanted to take a picture of me saying “Come on, you can” so as to look at it and find inspiration when she finishes school and starts university.

    1. Marisa,
      That is a wonderful phrase to tell your students. Many of our students never get told they can accomplish anything they set their minds to. I have worked with many very poor children and minorities who never believed they could graduate or attend college. You deserve the praise, my dear!

  4. A student who I taught several years ago in kindergarten comes back to visit me every week. He recently told me that when he grows up he wants to be a teacher. He said, very seriously, “because you inspired me.” So sweet!
    Thanks for giving us the reminder to reflect and share about the difference we make in kids’ lives.

    1. Joan,
      That is amazing that this student makes time to visit you every year and say his thanks. I’m sure there are many more who have felt the same way.

  5. Great reminder Shelley. It’s easy to get bogged down in the negatives and we all need to remember that it is a very small minority in each category, who tend to cloud our vision if we’re not careful. A parent told me recently how much she appreciated all we did as a school, how approachable we were and how she knew if she had a problem she could come and tell us and it would be dealt with sensitively and swiftly. She said she wanted to tell me because she knew most meetings with parents were where they were coming in to complain!

    1. Smichael920,
      I think this time of year is especially tough on teachers. This is when crunch time comes and the pressure is put from students, parents, and administrators. Also, our families need us more during the holiday season as well. I try to constantly remember the good so I do not get burned out. It keeps me passionate and when I feel burnt out then I know its time for me to move on.

  6. One of my proudest moments was when I taught guitar in an inner city high school. I had a student who was causing problems in the class. I held him after and asked why he didn’t participate. He said, “Look mister, in my neighborhood a lot of people are dead by the age of 20 so why should I try?” I said, “What if you don’t die? What will you do then? You might live another 50 or 60 years.” He looked confused and said he never thought about that. After that he became one of my best students!

    1. Aaron,
      Thank you for sharing this! It’s amazing how music can reach students. I definitely like your reply and may use it with students I teach. I used to teach at risk students in the US and I never knew how to comfort them from the horrors they experienced personally. I’d read them in their journals and creative writing. I always offered support and went the extra mile but it is good to remind them that they have a future!

  7. Simply fantastic blog – you’re clearly ace at engaging people. You might make a teacher yet!
    Characteristically, I am going to cheat here: it’s a series of moments. It’s those moments when students come up after class and say thank you for the lesson. It’s not normal etiquette round my way. What have I done? Hard to say. If it’s anything it’s probably the showing how to learn: what I see as training not teaching.

    1. Dominic,
      You are completely allowed to cheat! I suspect the majority of educators have series of moments they embrace. I am definitely part of that group.

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