No matter where you live, you are close to “those schools”. The ones who don’t perform as well as the state would like. The ones that some look down on because they must have crappy teachers who have checked out and parents who don’t care. The ones that contain “those kids” that probably don’t speak properly and probably are in gangs and will never amount to anything.
At those schools, there is a teacher. He teaches because it is his passion. He is at “that school” because he loves it. You feel sorry for him because he hasn’t moved up to the affluent schools yet. What you don’t know is that he wants to be there. This environment is exactly what he’s built for. He is a child-whisperer. There is not a classroom of kids that he can’t handle. Because he loves them. He thinks each and every one of them has something to offer this world and is special.
What you might not know is that even though he loves it, it is tough. Tougher than he ever imagined. Every night he comes home completely exhausted and utterly stressed. Yesterday, a boy pulled down another boy’s pants in the middle of his class. They then chased each other around and fought. Today, a boy called him a “m-fer” and peed on the floor. After school, two boys got in a terrible fist-fight on the front lawn. This is his normal, his every day. He is beside himself because all he wants to do his connect with these kids and teach but he can’t. He’s new to this school and has to get them to trust him. He’s working so hard. True, he is just a phys ed teacher but he wants to teach them so much more. He borrows books from his own children to let his students read or read to them. He thinks of ways he can incorporate math facts and spelling words and reading into his phys ed lessons. He wants to inspire. He wants them to know there’s so much that they can do with their life. But after fighting and pee and swear words, he wonders if it’s possible. If it’s worth it. If he can do it. He doesn’t even mention that his paycheck is way less this year. He’s not in it for the money.
At a school near you, there is a teacher who is trying with all his might to make a difference. He is trying to show these kids there is more to life than cell phones and babies too young and poverty. He is trying to convince them that they are special and worthy and have something to offer this world. At a school near you, there is a teacher that cares. He’s trying. So hard. Near you.