I love my job and I am so thankful for what I get to do every day. Planning the curriculum is intellectually stimulating, collaborating with teammates is reinvigorating, and trying innovative new ways to teach my students in inspiring. Despite all of these amazing elements of my job, what keeps me pushing through exhausted mornings has nothing to do with anything I could document in lesson plans. The relationship that I have with my students fuels everything I do in my classroom. The number one most important aspect of my job is showing my students that I believe in them and that I see them. It is so important to me that my students know that I see their unique strengths and talents, even if they are too quiet to show that side to their classmates. I'm driven to show up in my classroom every morning because I know that my students trust me to see them for who they are.
Watching this video of Angela Maiers at a conference in Iowa hit me on a personal and professional level. Half a million children surveyed in this study said that all they want is to know that they matter. Don't we all? I've been reflecting once again on the students in my class and what they ask for directly or silently. In this presentation, a panel of students vocalized their requests from their teachers. They said:
-smile at me
-believe in me
-imagine with me
-help me ("let me ask questions, let me try hard things, show me how, don't tell me how")
My purpose as a teacher is so much more than to deliver curriculum. Angela Maiers said it perfectly when she said, "'You matter' is not a statement to make someone feel good. Mattering is a necessity, it is not a nicety... we were created for significance."