Dear Neglected TJOJ Readers:
I apologize for the long absence. When I set to writing this blog, I intended to share tools and experiences...after a few months, it got sort of preachy and so I discontinued. Although I never intend to preach, I am so very passionate about education and the way things are going (or not going) in schools. I am going to try for a better mix in the future.
The first unexpected surprise this week was when I was observed by someone I did not know from an area college. I am offering Professional Development sessions to my colleagues at school in an after-hours format. They can receive college credit for attending. I didn't know what to expect from this observation, but like a regular classroom observation, with me, what-you-see-is-what-you-get. I was reading the observation report when I came upon this quote, "It is very evident that technology is a real passion of Terry’s and it shows in his energetic teaching and the way he encourages the use of the applications he is presenting. He is obviously a leader in this area and the go-to guy for the staff." Wow. It might not be surprising to know that I am fairly harsh with myself in terms of school, because I always try to make things better. I also have gone through periods of feeling very unappreciated. This was nice to hear from an outside source.
The second surprise may be the sweetest. I received a handmade card from a student (a class assignment, but regardless) from a VERY quiet freshman boy. It had musical notes on the front and the inside said, "Thank you for being a great teacher. I'm sorry I didn't go out for chorus last year. I think you're my favorite teacher in the whole world." That would be nice from ANY kid, but from a painfully shy kid who is not in my class, it's heaven. It is also affirmation that the heart and soul I have been pouring in to kids has not gone unnoticed. Lately, I have been working extra hard to find roads in with kids that seem to struggle. I imagine the casual onlooker might see it as funny. I walked with a girl in PE one day and challenged her to walk faster than her normal snail pace. Not because I care about her speed, but because I wanted her to know she was noticed.
Both of the things above make it seem like I am tooting my own horn, or holding myself up as an example. That's not really my point, and if you knew me in real life, you would know that is not me. It just reminded me that sometimes, if you want to make a difference, you have to step outside of the normal. You have to put yourself out there. You have to put yourself in a place where you can lead and let your passion for education shine. You have to challenge what the kids believe about school and teachers. The sweetest part of this job is the times that you see a smile from the girl who walks in gym class, or you get a note out of the blue. I am one lucky guy.
Finally, a great surprise last night... A blogger that I deeply respect as a teacher and as a blogger sent a tweet about the absence of blogging. I was humbled to know someone I respect so greatly had noticed that it had been since November that I blogged here. When I made a silly remark back about being sure that the five people who read this were sad, another comment from someone I respect came through.
So, I make a parallel with my teaching spirituality...Just because you don't know your voice is getting through, doesn't mean that it isn't. Keep speaking, keep dreaming, keep pushing....maybe there will be some unexpected surprises in your future!!