Thought this morning, it may make and interesting spin to tell it as it is – from a teacher’s perspective. I do not speak on behalf of all teachers – this is MY take based on MY thoughts of what teachers would like students to know – but cannot always express:
1. I did not want to get upset with you when I saw you on your cell phone during my lesson. I spent 2 hours last night marking papers and then another good hour trying to put together a lesson plan that would be interesting and meet the curriculum expectations outlined by the government. When I saw you on your phone, I took it personally that you were not interested in my lesson. I know the lesson is what you need, based on what I have observed about your needs. I guess my feelings were hurt.
2. When you arrive to my class late it bothers me. I want to be able to feel that I can make a difference in your life. That is why I got into teaching. What is really important in my world is that you arrive somewhere on time. My Mom used to say that if you are not 15 minutes early, you are 15 minutes late. That philosophy has always allowed me to be more prepared for what is to come – whether that be arriving at a doctor’s appointment, or an exam. This is my world and I know with an education, you will be moving into a different world where being on time matters. I feel that I have failed when you don’t demonstrate that you have learned that lesson – and I am disappointed in myself.
3. I don’t want to evaluate you. I hate exams. I don’t believe in them, but the rules dictate to me that I must evaluate you at a “set” time – whether you are ready or not. I have tried to prepare you for this day the very best I could. If I had the choice, I would let you progress as you can and never make you “fail”. Failing an exam for which you are not ready is one of the worst feelings in the world and I understand how humiliating and /or frustrating it must be. I wish I could control this – but I can’t and it frustrates me too. Your failure is my failure.
4. I didn’t purposefully avoid your questions. I have so many students who all need my attention that I get over-whelmed. I wish there were fewer students in my room so that I could work with you one-on-one. I know you were upset with me. I wanted to get to you – it is almost like a hospital where I need to triage the students. Your hand was not as pressing as the student standing right in front of me with a crisis. I promise I will get to you – I just need you to be patient. I feel horrible about it – and I lose sleep over it – I wish that I had the support I need to do a better job.
5. The material that I am teaching you sometimes “sucks”. I don’t always believe in it. I wish I could talk to you about finances and relationships, and children. I am, however, required to teach you curriculum. I try to make the class as relevant to you as I can – sometimes I just can’t find the connection. I wish you knew that.
6. When you walk in the class looking like you just crawled out of bed – it makes me feel tired. Your fatigue becomes mine and it takes a lot of energy to not let your fatigue suck me in. I fight it the best I can. When you walk into the classroom with a chip on your shoulder I am so focused on removing that chip that I use all my energy on that – rather than on teaching the other students. I sometimes need you to “look” happy to see me to give me some inspiration – that you want me to be there and that you enjoy my teaching.
7. I love when you ask me questions. It makes me feel that you are interested in what I am saying to you. I know then, you are listening to me. I get that you are hesitant to ask since you have felt belittled in the past for asking the same question over and over – I’ve been there too. Please, please, please, let me feel that you “get” what I’m trying to teach. Your success is my success.
8. I hate giving you back an assignment with a failing grade. More than anything – I want you to do well. Let me talk to you about your mistakes so that you can learn from them.
9. I want to take you home and adopt you. I feel so badly that you don’t have a place that you can call home. I want, more than anything else, to help. I feel so terribly horrible that you did not have a stable house growing up. You are such a nice person and don’t deserve to have to be the parent of the house. You are a child and your parents needed to have been parents to you. It bothers me so much that you were deprived of a childhood.
10. I want you to be happy. More than anything in this world, I want you to be happy, fulfilled in life, and feeling safe. I know you suffer from mental health issues, addictions, and have troubles with relationships. I want for you to get help – support – to find resources. Please, please, please reach out to good resources. These do not include only your friends. I want you to find help easily and not have to wait in line. I know this is a challenge and I hate that it is. I hate that you don’t have faith in the police. I get it. No matter how good of a person you are, you are still sometimes treated like a second-class citizen because you are young or because you have a past. I get upset that you are not treated with respect and seen for the wonderful, beautiful person that you are. I want to help you fight your battle – even take it over…. but I can’t. I will help you as much as I can, but keep in mind I too have issues and a family to take care of. It is so difficult to balance my school life and my home life too. I get it. I am stressed by the inability of your family to care for you. I sometimes lay awake at night and worry about you. I want the best for you – you deserve the best just as much as anyone else. I want… for you to be happy.
These are “some” of the things I want you, students, to know.