Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Teaching is personal.

I don't often write about emotional things on my blog, but today I'm feeling emotional.  Often, John Spencer's posts remind me of how I feel.  Teaching is personal.  One he posted today reminded me of that yet again.

I've cried two times within the past 24 hours in my classroom.  One experience involved parents and another students.  I was talking to Russ (the best husband in the world) about this last night, and he made a good analogy.  Sometimes we as teachers are treated like customer service representatives (ya know, the people you call on the phone when your internet is down...we all love them so much...*sarcasm*).  We hear snippets from parents and kids. We hear the negatives, often in quick spouts of anger or complaining.

Many parents and most students don't truly understand the passion, effort, and care we put into our craft.  They cut us down because we made an error; they comment about how boring things are; they comment negatively on how or what we teach.  It's rare that we hear how great we're doing.  It's rare to hear appreciation for the passion, effort, and care we put into planning and facilitating the learning in our spaces.  Just like customer service reps rarely hear that a product is awesome and meets or exceeds expectations.

Teaching is personal.  We are blessed with the few outside our profession that notice this.  I had an brushing with one of those today.

"Hey, Mrs. Goerend, I saw you crying in the principal's office yesterday.  Are you ok?" - student
"I am.  Thanks for asking." - me

It was a simple exchange but meant more than this student could know.

So I have a request for you.  If you are a parent to a school-aged child, contact your child's teacher(s)  to share your positive "customer service experiences."  Teaching is personal to them, too, and I know they will appreciate you noticing.


  1. I love how you captured how it feels in this post. It's true. People often fail to recognize what it is truly like for us.

  2. Hi Mrs. Goerend,
    I am a student from the University of South Alabama and am in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class.
    First of all I would like to tell you what wonderful taste in backgrounds you have. I have the same one and when I pulled your page up I was a little confused thinking it was my page. Second, I will say that I completely and totally agree. Teaching is personal. My mom is a kindergarten teacher and seeing some of the things that she has had to deal with sometimes makes me wonder if I really want to teach. At that age it is normally not the child but the parents. It seems they sit and watch for every mistake that is made and they jump on it full force. It really takes a special person to be able to handle individuals of all ages and backgrounds. It is a difficult career to be in but I really do believe that it is well worth it to know that you made a difference in a child's life. I want to thank you for being a teacher. Finally I want to say good job to the husband who helped you with that. That is the way my family is with my mom to. It really helps to know someone is there for you. It just shows you what a great man you have! I really enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Neileigh- Thanks for commenting. Every year of teaching I have moments that I wonder why I'm doing this, but then I have moments that totally affirm my decision. Enjoy your class with Dr. Strange and good luck in your schooling and future career!

  4. I see that this is an old post. But the sentiments still apply! I am an elementary administrator who taught at the secondary and elementary levels. Teaching truly does touch lives. But why are we so underappreciated. We're the only career that has new beginnings all year! We take our work home and even on off days it consumes us! Just know that what we do is credit to the future. Our light shines with each child that says "I got it!" Good luck to you!

  5. @Jonnai -
    Thank you for your comment. I just received a thank you note from a parent that was amazing. I need to blog about it.

  6. Hi, I am an EDM310 student at the University of South Alabama. I am exploring some of your older post, and I came across this one. It's very moving and REAL. Your job keeps society functioning and more people should be more thankful and aware of how difficult it is to teach in a career where you can't predict what happens next.