This I Believe…
Teachers are More Than Educators
I am not yet a teacher. I don’t have to far to go, however. About two more semesters and I will be in the classroom. I will be teaching language arts or science. I will share the joys of reading a good book with my students or perhaps we will learn about the solar system. I’m not sure what I’ll be teaching curriculum wise. One thing I am certain of is that I will be teaching my students how important they are in the world.
To me, being a teacher involves teaching not only curriculum, but it also involves fostering the emotional growth of our students. We spend the better part of the day with our students. We can sometimes recognize those who don’t have much family support and some may go unnoticed. I would rather let each student know that they are important and they have a place in this world and let them leave my classroom feeling good about themselves. I want them to know that they are important even if no one else feels that they are, even if they don’t feel that they are. They are important to me.
A recent incident during my observations hours caused me to cement my belief in this cause. A young boy was acting out during class and even seemed to have a bit of slurred speech. We later learned that this particular boy had seen some tragedy in his young life. Having once heard of a person with mild depression and slurred speech as a result of the depression, I wondered of the boy’s own slur might be because he was depressed. My heart went out to this boy. I just thought of the difference it might make in his life to hear someone say that he had done a good job or that he was appreciated for helping hand out papers-something to make him feel important. I realize that this won’t change the world and make everything wonderful for these kids, but I know it will make a difference somehow.
When I get in my classroom and I am teaching, I don’t want to be teaching just the subject matter. I want to be teaching my students that this world is a better place because they are in it. I want them to know that they matter and that they are so very important. I want them to leave my class feeling a little taller and a lot better about themselves. I want all teachers and future teachers to remember the little things that can make such a huge difference-an encouraging word or kind gesture. Marian Wright Edelman said it best, “We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.