Tuesday, May 08, 2012

I Was Paid A Strong Compliment Today

It's a fun time of year for those of us who teach high school, and especially for those of us who teach a lot of seniors.  I enjoy hearing where my students will be going to school next year--I've got a few Cal Polys already!--and it's a treat to watch them prepare for their first steps away from home, steps that are simultaneously tentative and affirmative.  Part of me is envious about the journey they're about to embark on, and part of me wouldn't go through that again for all the tea in China!

We have a very strong AVID program at our school, and one of the annual May events is a lunchtime "dessert social" put on by the AVID students.  The junior AVID students host it while the teachers and the senior AVID students are the guests.  Ice cream, cookies, cakes, pies, brownies--it's a horrible meal but a great lunch!  Anyway, spread out on the tables were pictures of the graduating AVID seniors along with where they're going to college, what they plan on majoring in, etc.  I had taught so many of them!  What a nice opportunity to say good-bye to them if I don't get to see them before graduation.

At this lunch each year a few teachers are honored for the impact they had on the graduating seniors, and what a shock it was for me to hear my name called!  Let's be honest, math teachers aren't usually the teachers kids think of when they're asked who had an impact on them.  But there I was, and one of my current stats students was talking about what kind of teacher I am.  One thing she said that really struck home for me--I'll paraphrase as best I can:
He won't move on until everyone understands.  When he sees that "deer in the headlights" look, he'll stop and try something else until we understand.  If he didn't do that, I think I'd have had that look all year long.  And he doesn't just teach us math, he tries to teach us life lessons.
What better compliment could a teacher ask for?

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