I had a really rough day yesterday, and without getting into specifics, here are the things I wish I could have said if I had time to think. Sorry if this feels like a bit of a rant.
I have been teaching for six years. Not super long, I know, but long enough to have figured several things about myself as a teacher, my students as learners and their parents as their advocates. I am a good teacher. I know my subjects, and I know how to explain them to others. I differentiate instruction, use data to inform my best practices and blah blah blah. A student leaves my class knowing more than when they entered. I am strict because I know that my students can be excellent, and this is what I want for them.
In addition to knowing my subjects, I know my students. I know their families, their older and younger siblings, their interests, their friends. I use my time after and outside of school to support them-I go to their sports games, their concerts, their church celebrations. I even volunteer extra time to teach them dance free of charge. I can tell when one is having a bad day, or when another is frustrated about prepositional phrases.
I know that you, their parents want what's best for your child- but here's something you may not have realized about me: I want that too. More than anything else, my job is to help your child be successful where it really matters- in personal responsibility, kindness, and always giving challenges their strongest effort.
Here's another thing you may not know about me: I love my students. Yes, that includes your child. I cry when their grandparents pass away. I feel empathy when they break their arms and legs and fingers and can't do all the things they want to do. I see all of these things, and I don't judge your child only by their words on a paper or their scores on a test.
Please don't judge me by the one time I ask them to redo an assignment because I know they can write a more thorough answer. Please don't judge me by the one time I ask them to please stay in dress code because that is an important part of our school identity. Please don't judge me when I remove a distraction from your child during a test- as long as it isn't gross, I WILL give it back after class. You don't hear about the cards we write when someone is having a hard time, or the cookie prizes for a job well done or the books I find for the classroom for just your daughter or your son.
I do these things because your child is excellent and can be even more excellent- and I think that's what we should all be working for together.