This past summer, fall and winter my family went through a lot as we struggled with some family issues. My daughter, after a long state of despair, was diagnosed with PANDAS. It put our family in a spin, but thankfully, I can say with confidence, that with the right treatment, she has recovered. We are very fortunate that, looking back, we did not have to live with this for long and were blessed to have so many people help, guide and support us.
The whole experience put things into perspective for me and one of the biggest blessings was that my two kids’ teachers were so understanding. They were in close communication if there was an issue, met with me when needed, but most of all, they stayed positive for my kids and made them feel loved at school. As I sent my two kiddos on the bus each day, even when there was turmoil in and around them, I felt at ease knowing that, once they were at school, they were cared for. What an important thing for a mother!
It forced me to look again at my own teaching and at teaching in general, realizing, once again just how important our job is. We are charged not only to educate children in academia, but need to care for them as they grow and change.
A teacher needs to show, among other things, compassion, patience and positivity. These are the virtues that come naturally with Motherhood and seem to be necessary to our teachings as well – regardless of the age group we teach. What a Kindergarten teacher needs to do to show these things is far different than what I , as a fourth grade teacher need to do. A middle school student has different needs and those teaching high school and beyond reach out to and care for students in different ways. But, we all are shadows of parents for our students. (And in some cases, are the only parental role models the students will see.)
As I move on in the year and in my career, I will remember this new twist on an old saying:
Do unto others’ (children) as you would have them do unto you(rs).”
My kids’ teachers showed this for my kids and I hope I can do the same for the students in my classroom.
Sometimes I pause and look at my student in need as if they were my kid and ask, “What would I want my kids’ teacher to do right now?” And then I do it.
Happy Mothers’ Day and Happy Teacher Appreciation Month!