Thursday, December 5, 2013


Today was the type of day where I was struggling to figure out why I do this job.

I had planning first period today and didn't get anything done that I wanted to because I had to meet with another teacher. What should have taken 5 minutes turned into 30 so I ended up wasting almost my entire planning period.

Not only that but my students are slowly going stir crazy which means they are starting to bounce off the walls in class. Not only that, but I caught a student cheating today as well as another one misusing their computer (we are a 1-to-1 school). So I had to write two detentions.

I had 30 emails in my inbox from various people. Most from parents that have seemed to have only recently discovered our online grade book with live grading. They are suddenly wondering why their child is failing when they could see all the missing homework assignments. The others are from students that are realizing that their interim grade will get them in trouble (grades were due this morning) so they now decide to take an interest in their academic performance.

One of these parent emails was questioning if their child really received a 13/15 on a pop quiz dealing with MLA citations. The reason they were questioning was because I had put in the directions "all or nothing." I responded back saying that when I didn't say that on the first quiz, I got total crap back (I said this in a much more professional manner don't worry) so I figured I would scare them into giving me the correct citation. Needless to say it worked because 90% of my sophomores gave me a citation that was either perfect or near perfect. I had no idea what type of response I would get back from this parent, so when I saw that he responded to me my email, I held my breath. I opened it to find this:

      Yes, thank you.  That does clear up things, if not assuage my concerns.  Couple of things, first both my wife and I support you (and the other faculty) 100% - we stand by your calls.  Secondly, I place English, specifically writing composition, as equally important as any STEM course work.  I continually find the engineers and scientist I work with needing my help putting their message on paper in a succinct and grammatically correct manner.   Also, as far as the students these days need subtle threats to get their attention, what’s up with that?  It used to work on me, but the kids these days are impervious.  All joking aside, thank you for making our children think, and we really appreciate the job you are doing.

 I had to read the email a couple of times to make sure that I had read it correctly and to let it sink in. It isn't every day that you get an email telling you that what you're doing has meaning and a purpose. Especially from a parent.

This gave me the validation I needed and reminded me that what I do does have a purpose and it isn't just about babysitting crazy kids and bowing to demands of parents. I am actually attempting to teach my students something valuable in life.

I will save this email forever so that when I need a pick me up, I can just look at it and remember.

All you parents out there, if you think your child's teacher is doing a good job, tell them. You never know how much better you can make a teacher's day with a simple five minute email.

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