I have a student I worked with last semester who, whenever I see her, spouts out, “Why can’t YOU teach my class this semester?” I always respond, “I miss you too!” She is a kid who makes a point of fronting a prickly exterior, so I take particular delight in this exchange. From the same class, I had a student who informed me he didn’t like my teaching style, and preferred to be in another teacher’s class. To both of them, I have shared that people resonate with different styles of teaching, and it is good to go to school with a mix of educators who both compliment your style and challenge it.
As I was looking around the staff lounge today, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of awe at my colleagues and I working together on behalf of these students. We operate in such different ways with different beliefs and interests that it really takes our entire village to serve our students. I know I will never go to a video gaming convention, but I am glad some of our teachers do. We represent a diversity of sexual orientations and religious backgrounds. I appreciate that some of educators are strict, others gentle, and still others somewhere in between. What holds us all together is our intention to best serve our students as we know how. We don’t do it the same way, though we are united in purpose.
I never tire of quoting Parker Palmer, who writes:
May we all reflect on our particular gifts as educators, and take a moment to appreciate those gifts and qualities that others possess.