I had an interesting phone call yesterday afternoon. Upon answering the phone, the voice on the other end identified herself and went on to tell me, “I’m not sure why I feel the need to call you, but I think you can help me. I’ve lost all confidence in myself as a teacher. I was wondering if you would meet with me and help me through this lull in my teaching.”
Frankly, I was floored. I’ve only met this person one time. In essence, we are strangers. We don’t work together, we don’t have common friends, we don’t attend the same church. With the exception of the one time our paths crossed, we are complete-absolute-strangers. And she called me, wanting help.
My current passion in education, is lighting a fire within teachers to love (and I mean love) our profession. I couldn’t help but meet with her. Plus my curiosity was peaked. It takes courage to phone a stranger and ask for help. And I’m human — I wanted to know why would she call me. The deal was sealed as I heard a hidden sob come from the other end of the line.
We met yesterday evening. As she spun the tale of her school year, I learned that she was hurt deeply by someone within the school and although that turmoil has come to an end, the repercussions are effecting her teaching. She has lost confidence in herself as a teacher and she wants it back.
I mostly listened. And as I did, I realized how fragile we truly are as educators. We put our hearts and souls into this profession, into our kids and we can be easily damaged by others. Sometimes we get so caught up with our corner of the world, that we forget the big picture. We forget that it takes the teachers before and after us; it takes the principles, the coaches, and those in central office; it takes librarians, special teachers, and counselors; it takes the math teachers, the PE teachers, the social studies teachers; we forget that we are all in it together. We often forget that we are all doing our best to influence our students for the best. And even more detrimental, is when one of us forgets that. When one forgets their job is to do what’s best for students . . . not what has always been done, nor what is easiest for the adults in the school the system fails.
Take today to realign your priorities. Take today to remember one student you changed for the better. Take today to hold your colleagues accountable for doing what’s best for kids. Because that’s why were here. And that’s what matters most.