As a teacher, I am constantly plagued with self-doubt and a little tingle in my heart that can only be diagnosed as anxiety. Am I doing enough? What are their parents thinking? Oh God, Jimmy, stop making farting noises! And more than often, I hate to admit, we teachers get the short end of the stick, hearing "constructive" feedback from parents, colleagues and bosses about how to better our teaching practices.
When all we really want is some R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
Just kidding, although Ms. Franklin was on the right track.
I have been working with a student for the past 2 months, trying to improve her overall writing and training her to use specific skills to work more independently. With her, I try to focus on equipping her with techniques she can use so that she can recognize her own mistakes and attempt to correct them. I realized from day 1, she was a student that needed to be monitored to be kept on track. However, because I am only with her once a week for one hour, there was no way for me to ensure she stayed focus and put in the effort I knew she was capable of. So although I had a very crunched 1 hour split between 3 students, I made sure to review her book summaries with her, have her correct her own mistakes, allow her to self-reflect or "mark" herself on how she thought she did and what she could improve on and go over some ways to perform close reading and how to use context clues to help decipher correct answers. Over the next few weeks, she has asked me to take the time in class to self-edit her own work and has grown so much more independent. Her sentences are clearer and we are now working on her oral summaries. Overall, she has made such progress.
As I worked with her today, she made sure to remind me that her mother wanted her to finish all her homework in class. However, with her needing additional support, we failed to complete one worksheet. "Oh shit," I thought, "I hope her mom won't be pissed." As my day ended, she scurried to my classroom and told me very proudly that she got 100% on all 5 tests that were administered after the class. Note: These were on the worksheets we worked on together prior. I was so happy for her and not knowing the proper etiquette, high-fived her and told her to continue working hard and to be proud of herself. As I packed my bag, her mother shyly came into the room with a bright smile on her face. She greeted me and thanked me wholeheartedly for working with her daughter because she has seen all of her improvements in both her homework here and her grades at school. She continued by giving me a handshake/attempt at a hug/small bow and wishing me a nice weekend.
I am still smiling about this, because a) I've never been bowed to, but found it very common in Korean cultures and more importantly b) Yes, I am doing something right!
So despite the fact that I sometimes doubt myself as I allow my kids to show me their Yu-Gi-Oh cards in the last 5 minutes of class, I am making a difference, and that's what matters. Recognized or not, I love what I do. Hopefully these small little gestures help to affirm the profession I work so hard in and will continue to serve as reminders to better myself, xo