To my students:
Your smiles are worth my time. That’s why I dance, use silly voices, and do ridiculous things in the classroom sometimes. I like to see you smile.
Your tears are worth my time. Tears because you are going through so much at home, more than I know, and more than any kid should have to face.
Your fears are worth my time. Fears over school and tests and FSA. Fears that an 8 or 9 year shouldn’t have but do, because of the pressure you feel from others. Not from me, though. I won’t add to that.
Your I’m nervous about this test, anxious about the bus, not feeling well, head hurts, foot fell asleep, tooth just fell out, something is stuck in my ear is worth my time. You’re doing the best you can, little human.
Your adoration, Ms. Knight you’re beautiful, Teacher you’re the best, I love this, I love you, here’s a picture I drew for you, is worth my time. In fact, it’s the best part.
Your frustration with things that are too hard for you, main idea, subtracting across a zero, phonics, comprehension, inferencing, handwriting, thinking outside the box, is worth my time. Too much is being asked of you, but I’ll do my best to help. Learning differences are not disabilities. We will attack this from a different angle and I will help you.
Your quirkiness, the interesting things that make you – you, is worth my time. Look, I’m a macaw, Did you know I got a chicken and named her pecker? I’d rather work on the floor, I’m going to try to sit in your lap even though you’re my teacher, how did you know it was me after I got my haircut? Yes, I see you. I like the quirkiness, actually. You are interesting and unique and no one else is just like you.
Your self worth is very much worth my time. If you don’t leave my class with more confidence than you came in, then I didn’t reach my goal. I will teach you that I ams and believing in yourself are a superpower. They are your power and I hope you take it with you for the rest of your life.
To my students: I became a teacher because your life is worth my time.