For His Consideration

Slice 19

I have been saying since probably halfway through my first year teaching that anyone who has taught a minute longer than me is at least a minute better than me and I still believe that. I also know quite a few teachers who came out of school young and energetic and without the baggage of extra years and parentally-depleted energy that, if such a ranking were possible, would also totally be a few notches above where I rank. I know what I am and I know what I do and I know my strong points and I work on (or ignore because I think they’re dumb) what I need to work on.

A parent submitted something somewhere on my behalf the other day basically just officially putting me up for a sort of recognition. I was very touched. My parents live far and I see them once every year or two so if something like that happens I share. I’d like them to maybe stop worrying about me one of these days. 

My son went to the school where I work and he made a solid connection to a pair of teachers who had him after me. They know and care about him deeply and remain in contact directly with him and through me. He’s had problems lately and they’re on top of it. I’ve been very lucky to have them take me under their formidable wings since I my first year, so I also shared the honor with them. My ego likes when they’re proud. 

The email notifying me of this sweet gesture prompted me to take the next steps to complete the process. Answering some questions, including my resume, and getting a recommendation letter “on official school letterhead”. My mentor friends offered to write this letter. I laughed and thanked them. I’m not actually doing this. Hahaha.

My mom wants me to. They want me to. All of which has been very easy for me to shrug off. The thought is ridiculous to me. But they countered with something that caused pause, and this slice. 

Like I said, they know my kid. One of his issues is believing in himself. Confidence. So they lobbed this at me. “How can he learn to believe in himself and have a positive self image of himself if his dad doesn’t have one of himself?”

Dagger.

But, I don’t deserve any kind of recognition for anything I’m doing. I hope to someday. Not that I believe this type of thing can be ranked, but whatever you do you should strive to be the best, right? At least the best you can be. 

I know what I am and what I do. I am good at some aspects of this. And when they asked me to really reflect on this (and my mom warned regret) I thought that if there was a year a teacher like me, who has always put relationships and bonding and trust over, you know, actual teaching – then it would be this year. But teachers are a brilliant collection of magical wizard miracle workers. I am constantly in awe. I KNOW that just in my hallway, let alone my building/district/state, there are teachers better than me at the relationship thing AND actually have Danielson-perfect lessons and philosophies and rubrics and actually do meetings and paperwork well. 

So I very much appreciate all of it. And the fact that I know I have strengths (see above) and showed them the email and am currently writing about this (it’s a total brag, no?), I believe I have a healthy enough ego. So, while I am not putting myself up for inspection to be considered for some gold star, I will walk away from this more aware of how I see myself being reflected in my kids’ eyes. All of them, classroom and otherwise. And that’s a prize everyone deserves to win.

3 thoughts on “For His Consideration

  1. There is so much to love in this slice, so much self deprecation necessary for effective teaching, but I wonder if you should. In part because you won’t. Whatever you decide, this is testament to your thoughtfulness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think a lot of teachers feel the same way you do. It’s easy for me to chalk my successes up to smoke and mirrors. And like you, hearing praise for myself as a teacher hits me two ways. Yes, I am proud and happy to be appreciated. But there are parts of me that resist it: I have colleagues who are better, I have peers who work harder…why should I be the one highlighted or thanked? EVERYONE deserves it. It’s complex and tangled. Whichever way you go, I hope you have some kind of folder (digitally and IRL) labeled “Happy Jar” or “Sentimental” or “WINS” or whatever. Hold on to these for when you’re having a rough day.

    Liked by 1 person

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