Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Happy Valentine's Day

As I drove to work this morning, a light snow began to fall, so light that I didn't need to use my windshield wipers. Waiting for the crossing guard to wave me through the intersection, I had time to really observe the perfect, completely individual flakes displayed on the glass. It was the beginning of a day of small, happy moments.

When I opened my email at work, one of the data processing guys had sent an email to our counseling department thanking them for the card and candy they had delivered to him in thanks for all the custom reports he's able to run. He copied me because he wanted their supervisor to know they'd taken a bit of time to make his day. This theme continued with the delivery of "Teacher 'Tines" to our staff. The Leadership class at All-American High had coordinated the event, encouraging students to send a Valentine's Day postcard to any staff member whom they appreciated. Teachers, paraprofessionals, maintenance men, and yes, even principals received these notes in their boxes at mid day. I walked into the mail room as our day maintenance man found his cards. He didn't know what they were. When I explained, he took a moment to read them and said, "Wow, I guess you never really know when the kids are noticing what you do here everyday."

I'll admit surprise that I received cards of my own. One of the things I miss about not being in the classroom anymore is the close relationships developed with students who are in your classroom every day for an entire school year. It's difficult to build those bonds with 2100 students. What surprised me the most, however, was the nature of one of my cards. It was a thank you from a student I worked with this summer when he came in to take exams to place out of several math classes. As a recent immigrant, he needed to demonstrate his knowledge since foreign classes are usually integrated rather than identified as "algebra," "geometry," or "calculus." The note from him today said, "Thank you for taking time to let me test out of Algebra II and Pre-Calculus. It has made all the difference for me and my future." This simple gesture reminded me of why I do the work that I do. We are making a difference for our students and their futures, even in the seemingly small, day-to-day tasks that often make up our jobs. The testing that I do routinely twice per summer was significant enough to that young man that he took time to write and thank me for it.

Adventure Guy and I don't usually make a big event out of Valentine's Day. We exchange cards, and this year he bought me the book Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire, a book about Rafe Esquith who is a teacher in inner-city LA. Last night he also made sure we didn't have anything booked for tonight and let me know he wanted us to go see Music and Lyrics, the new Drew Barrymore/Hugh Grant movie. When I got home from work, we made sure the kids were fed and then headed out for the theater. If you have a chance, go see this movie. Talk your significant other into going with you. I laughed; I cried! It was definitely the best romantic comedy I've seen in a while, and I must say it was a perfect ending to the best day I've had in quite some time as well.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone out there. My hope is that all of you have the opportunities, as I did today, to see the difference you are making in the lives of other around you.

1 comment:

Howard said...

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