Dear students, thank you for being so wonderful that I forget about the stress and enjoy my career

thank you written against dark city background

Dear students,

Thank you. You may not know it, but you're fantastic.

As the teacher, it is my job to create an environment that's as conducive to learning as possible. This may include considering seating arrangements, presentation of material, my attitude in class, how I handle discipline etc and, as much as I consider all of these aspects of the classroom environment, nothing affects or shapes my plans more than you. So, while it is literally my job to create a great environment for learning, it is also on your shoulders a bit.

You probably couldn't tell today, but I'm stressed. Adulting can be quite difficult at times and today, in particular, there are a plethora of things stressing me out:

  • Scheduling buses for a last-minute change to the soccer team's game tomorrow
  • Completing bus requests for the remainder of the soccer season… that is, until the inevitable cancellations due to excessive rain mean I have to reschedule games and change the bus requests
  • Finding a date for two games that need to be rescheduled
  • Completing a cheque request to pay for a tournament for the soccer team
  • Planning and writing a bid proposal for improvements to the practice soccer fields
  • An interesting change to the student/teacher parking situation at school
  • Planning soccer practice today
  • Solidifying plans for class tomorrow
  • Writing – for my blog and a book proposal
  • Restructuring plans to get through all of the psychology curriculum before the exam because of missed days
  • Planning review days for the exam
  • Financial stuff. You may or may not know that teachers aren't paid a lot, and sometimes life creeps up on you.

Individually, these stressors aren't much, but all at once, it's tough times.

I have two groups of people who help me when I get this stressed. Number one is my family. You're in my class and you know the way I talk about them. I love them. They are the most important people in my life. Nothing calms me more than going home to my wife and three kids every day. Sure, I need to cut the grass, pull up some weeds, there's always laundry to fold and dishes to be cleaned – but watching my four-year-old dance like a ballerina or throw frisbee with my son is infinitely more important. The grass will get cut, but these experiences with my family are fleeting moments of awesome that I can never get back. Honestly, I would much prefer my family write something on my tombstone resembling "loving father and husband" than "his yard was well manicured".

You may be surprised to know that you are number two. I know society and the media tells you that you're a nuisance and we're all doomed because of your immaturity, but guess what? They said the same thing about my generation and the same will be said about the generations that follow you. To be honest, I'm much more worried about the actions of the adults in this world than I am by you.

Anyway, because of how great you are in the classroom, I am more able to be the best teacher I can be. I am able to try new things, have meaningful conversations, discuss research, tell dad jokes (thank you for the pity laughs), and be myself. If you weren't so wonderful, both in your behavior and work ethic, things could be very different.

So, when I walked in to the school today, I was stressed. I was stressed as I planned for the day. I was stressed as I made coffee. I was stressed as I answered emails before class. And then you guys/gals walked in and I'm able to put those stressors to the back of my mind and enjoy my job, my profession, and one of my passions. I could not do that without you: trust me, I've taught in different schools where this was not the case.

So, thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for allowing me to be myself and for being so wonderful that I can forget about the stressors that life doles out and enjoy my career. While it is my job to create an environment conducive to learning, you do so much to create an environment conducive to teaching.

This is an edited version of a blog that originally ran on Blake Harvard's website, The Effortful Educator.

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