Why I Teach
Before Thanksgiving break, I gave my classes a short evaluation. It was totally anonymous and they were asked about things they liked, things they disliked, and things they would change. To be totally honest, reading the responses was both easy and difficult. Some were good and gave constructive criticism on how to address issues I knew existed. On the other hand, some made (personal?) attacks on my classes and my style of teaching. I know the flipped class is different than any other class, so I didn’t expect glowing evaluations from the kids because it has been a hard year for many of them.
Anyways, I’m not one to commiserate an evaluation, so I addressed issues today in class and apologized for my shortcomings and promised to try to do better for the end of the semester. I found this note from a learner on my desk after school:
Don’t blame yourself for our mistakes. You are making tasks as simple as possible. You are a really good teacher and a lot of students take advantage, I know becuz even I do it. I’m sorry.
The person that wrote this is not the one I would have picked to offer an encouraging note to their hardest teacher. Notes like this remind me not to take for granted the impact, positive or negative, I have in a child’s life.
I don’t find my meaning in affirming notes, but they sure do help me remember not to miss the bigger lessons.