Thank You Teachers Who Care For Their Students
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Thank You Teachers Who Care For Their Students

There is probably a student in your classroom
right now who feels terribly, horribly alone. They might act like they have it all together,
and to the students around them it might seem that way- putting on a smile, getting some
work done, going through the motions, but as a teacher you hear parts of the story that
other students don’t hear. You know that some of your kids only get food
when they come to school, and on nights and weekends, they go hungry. You’ve driven by those students’ houses
that don’t have heat, or windows, or floors. You were told by the school social worker
which of your students are in foster care. You’ve had parents call you and tell you
what’s going on at home and how they’re struggling to keep it all together, and you,
a math teacher, or science, or history, or English or whatever teacher, are also sometimes
a listening board for these parents. You’ve got students who are acting crazy
right now in class because they are not looking forward to Christmas Break coming up- not
looking forward to a couple weeks away from regular food, heat, and structure, and you. You’ve got kids in your class who feel very
alone right now. So let me say this: Thank you for being in
those students’ lives. Thank you for not just teaching the subject
matter, even though that’s usually all you get evaluated for. Thank you for keeping granola bars in your
desk. Thanks for listening to those parents during
your planning time even though you have papers to grade. Thanks for stopping in the hallway so a kid
can pour their heart out to you, or just giving them high fives. Thank you for being intentional about creating
an atmosphere in your classroom that students do feel cared for and safe in. This wasn’t in the job description. Building a community, leading a community. They didn’t teach you how to deal with this
stuff in teacher college. This isn’t what is assessed in the Common
Core or on the SAT. And yet it is apart of your job, and one of
the most difficult aspects of it. But also one of the most important. The fact is, kids who feel they are apart
of a community, a place they get to contribute, are listened to, are valued- generally will
do better academically, mentally, and socially, regardless of the circumstances that they
come from. This is something that you help give them
by being that constant presence in their lives every day. By greeting them at the door. By asking how they’re really doing. By creating activities that have them interacting
with others, pulling them out of isolation. You are having an impact far more than you
know. And so this holiday season as you might be
limping towards the Break, know this. Let it sink in. Remind yourself of the powerful work being
done in your classroom. Know that the impact of that work is sometimes
hard to measure or even to realize. But I promise you, if you are caring for your
students, and making your classroom a community for them, you are having an impact. And that’s why I think teaching is the greatest
profession in the world. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays my friends. And thank you, thank you, thank you for the
work you are doing in the lives of your students.

About James Carlton

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