Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week. I'm not gonna lie, I didn't feel very appreciated. My kids are more sick of school than I am, which means their whining and complaining would be at its yearly high even if we were doing something cool in class. Which we're not; we're cramming for next week's standardized tests (thanks, NCLB). They did ask repeatedly if we could have a teacher appreciation party, but that's only because they like A) bothering me and B) snacks. A much better way of showing how much you appreciate your teachers is just shutting up and not bugging the hell out of them. Listening to what they're saying would also be a refreshing change of pace, but let's not push our luck here. Anyway, my week pretty much sucked appreciation-wise.
And I certainly did not get an "I appreciate you" vibe during Thursday afternoon's meeting with my vindictive principal, wherein he scolded me for the unprofessionalism I had demonstrated by sitting on the visitors' side at last week's baseball game and then, considering my loyalties, barred me from graduation. He did, however, offer to procure me tickets to the other school's graduation. He's that kinda guy.
Long story short: school has been rotten lately.
I took Friday off and went down to the beach for the weekend, hoping to feel rejuvenated (or at least less likely to quit) by today. But driving home last night I was dreading returning to school, and walking to school this morning I was dreading it even more. To make matters worse, my morning class is my most obnoxious and difficult class, which makes me hate Mondays more than your average person -- perhaps even more than Garfield (who really has no reason to hate any day what with him being an unemployed cat and all). This morning I flat out did not want to go to school, and in the grander scheme of things, I caught myself wondering whether I can accurately say I even like being a teacher anymore.
And then I found a note in my mailbox from one of last year's favorites:
I cannot believe that you are leaving next year! I will miss you and the fun-loving atmosphere that your classroom provided. I appreciated your humor and insight that were woven into each and every lesson. I enjoyed spending time in your classroom, during and after class. . .
So often students think it's cool to disrespect teachers and their lessons, it's rare to find a student who truly cares. But, it's even rarer to find a teacher with such vigor and passion for learning and sharing. Your lessons carried over into a reality that each of us face every day. You opened my eyes to injustice in the world, and caused me to want to be proactive.*
Thank you for sharing your knowledge, but thank you, most of all, for caring.
*PS: I want this sentence engraved on my tombstone.