Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What Your Teacher Wants You To Know

On this first day of school I wanted to post a letter that one of my high school colleagues gave to all of her students.

What Mrs. _____ wants you to know:

I do care about you. Not just the person next to you, but YOU. I know that you may not believe me when I say that, but it’s true. There will be days that you and/or I don’t do things perfectly and there may be conflict, but I beg you to not forget that I do want what’s best for you. I’m going to be honest with you: I struggle with remembering names. I study photo class lists in an attempt to memorize names as quickly as possible, but I’m much better at remembering your name if we actually interact… so when I say I’m available for individual help inside or outside of class time, I’m secretly hoping that you will take me up on that so that I can get to know you individually and we can get past this awkward stage of not really knowing each other. As much as I am generally busy at school because I thrive on efficiency and because I have a child at home that I enjoy spending time with, I am willing to stop what I am doing to help you. PLEASE ASK!

I am generally a rule-follower and I don’t truly understand why others aren’t. I think it’s a very valuable skill in life to be able to follow rules that you don’t necessarily agree with. Police officers or your future boss likely won’t care if you disagree with a rule that they caught you breaking. Truth and justice are not completely relative and societies need rules in order to function for the common good. If I crack down on you for doing something that you shouldn’t, don’t try to make excuses or say someone else was doing it too. Most people speed when driving, but only some get caught… if you get caught, you’re responsible for your own actions. Even if someone is trying to ‘force’ you to do it.

You will not use every fact/concept that you learn in school in your life. You likely don’t even know every job that you will do in your life. But, public education walks a tight-rope line between focussing on individuals while moving towards a common goal. Even if you may not ‘need to know’ something, the person beside you may. Regardless of what’s being taught, the act of training your brain to learn is the necessary skill for you to develop. Another key skill in life is the ability to focus past your own nose and do something that doesn’t immediately give you great joy. Sometimes that’s simply delaying gratification, but it’s true even if you never reach the point of finding joy in doing it. Some things just plain need done, whether you want to or not, like cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn.

I will be doing my best to help you learn what Alberta Education asks you to. Please know that I welcome constructive comments on how I can do so better. Remember that I cannot read your mind, and may not hear EVERY conversation you have with your friends in class, so please communicate requests directly with me if you want me to be able to address them. If you have any questions/objections/comments, please feel free to share them with me, either in person or via email. I am willing to openly discuss anything, at an appropriate time. :)

I look forward to spending a semester with you,

Mrs. _____