Saturday, March 05, 2011

Small Victory - Self Esteem

     As I sat thinking over the past week yesterday, I began to feel the battle wounds from the week take their place in my self-esteem. In fact, I almost had to title this post Large Retreat rather than Small Victory. I think one of the hardest things about teaching is trying to balance teaching students with working with parents. What I mean by that is that teaching students comes with many challenges on its own. Something happens at school and the student goes home and tell what they remember happening (which is mostly correct). Then the parent comes in and seeks clarification (or retaliation/apologies) and -Wa-La! A new, stressful situation.
     Are all teachers perfect? Doubt it! Am I perfect? I don't even wish...What I try to be is the best teacher I can for my students. You see, as a teacher it can very tempting to ignore students who do nothing. I mean, some would say that if a student doesn't want to learn, well that is their problem- Don't waste your time. But, silly Mr. Hughes can't/won't/refuses to do that. Oh, I have been tempted many times over the past 10 years of teaching. But deep inside me I know that every student can and should get the best education possible. After all, the USA is one of the only countries in the world where EVERYONE gets to have an education (No wonder other countries out test us...they only let the "smart" ones in their schools). I can't imagine a day with out my students. I need them as much as I need air to breathe. I find my greatest happiness and deepest sorrows as I work with my "kids". I only wish the students saw the "need" of their education in return.
     This week was no exception to all of this. I had to go through several sessions of explaining and ultimately apologizing for things I said or did (though I don't know that I agree with all of them). This totally was a huge blow to my self-esteem. I can't explain what it is like to know that an angry parent might show up in the doorway...or call the principal. Being a teacher is definitely and interesting adventure fraught with danger, excitement, and challenge.
    My small victory comes this week in knowing that despite all the challenges of the week...the regardless of how upset some parents may be with me...that I know I am doing my very best for every student in my classroom. That makes me happy and helps to re-inflate my self-esteem. To me, that is truly a victory.


  1. Well, here it goes. Most people do not value a good teacher anymore. People like teacher who do not cause problems and just babysit kids. (I know that there are exception to this, but they are few and far between) You have to judge what type of teacher you are regardless what everyone thinks and feels they have the right to tell you. Believe in youself(and your wife). Take care and hang in there. By the way for what it is worth I would be very happy to have you as my children's teachers.

  2. From my voice observations, I feel you are a decent teacher and do go beyond and above what some teachers do. Remember you won't see the effects of your teaching until those students are way older. I had two teachers in high school that were pretty cool but I didn't find my mentor until college and I wish I had really taken more of her classes and changed my major at the time but you know what they say hindsight is? -

    I know eventually you will see or hear from other teachers who will be talking your praises as the students are talking your praises - hang in there; don't let those bubble busters take away what you are - a good and decent teacher - E :)

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series

    Where will the adventure take you next?

  3. Good, quality teachers are rare nowadays. I guess that makes “you” a rare breed! :)

    If you can make an impact in just one child’s life, then it’s worth it. I sense that you want to leave no child behind, and I admire you for that. As much as you’d like to save them all, some will fall by the wayside. It just happens.

    Keep your spirits up, Mr Hughes.


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