It’s 10:30 PM…I still have two full classes left to grade for final exams before sleepytime. I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself for not starting grading sooner (like over my past 3-day weekend, perhaps?). Then I came across this excerpt from a Common Application essay (I cleaned up some of the bad grammar…I’m not a spectacular English teacher by any means):
The day I met Mrs. H on August 14, 2012, I thought that the class was going to be…not so fun, but to be honest her class was probably the most educational class that I’ve had so far in high school. Mrs. H has a very special way of getting to every student. She doesn’t look at her students as a group of kids – she looks at every individual student and listens to whatever the student has to say, even if it’s negative. Mrs. H is an amazing teacher. I am thankful for the fact that I had the privilege to be enrolled in one of her classes.
I read all the Buzzfeed articles and various blogs and follow all the Facebook pages about why teaching is so hard. I chuckle at the teacher memes and commiserate with how crummy teaching can be. Yes, teaching is hard. Of course we are underpaid. Standardized testing usually does more harm than good. Teacher attrition is extremely high because the profession either encourages burnout or apathy.
…but knowing that we can affect kids like I unknowingly did this one…none of the rest of it matters nearly as much. I was so encouraged to read my students’ essays on their final websites. One young man wrote about one of his peers who suffers from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and watching him have to try so hard to complete simple tasks inspires him to work harder. Another talked about his faith in God who protected his family in what should have been a fatal car wreck. A third gave a passionate, intelligent plea to keep abortion legal to protect against a dangerous black market industry. Nearly half my students listed as one of their goals to “pay off my car/house/EVERYTHING” or “be debt-free” or “be saving 10% of my income for retirement.” My students are extremely intelligent, caring, and ambitious, despite what they hear from parents or peers or even themselves. They just need a few more people out there telling them so.
I want to be known as a hard working, trustworthy, and reliable individual who can get things done.
I will be loyal to my family and have strong faith. I will also have healthy relationships. Also, I will be dependable and hard-working in the work force.
Be a respectful person to everyone around me. Never think of negative when I live a positive life. Be reliable to friends and family and always be motivated.
I want to live each day being gentle, honest, loyal, and trustworthy. To be a good husband, father, and son. To have my family be able to trust me. To have my friends be able to trust me. To have my wife and kids be able to trust and rely on me.
To live each day with humor and happiness so that I will be a happier and better person, I will do this by waking up with a positive attitude every morning.
To live each day with happiness, love, and honesty so that I can prove to others that I’m someone they can talk to. I will do this by listening, help others find solutions to problems, and caring for them when they most need it.