I've been teaching since 2005, I took a couple of years off to move to Haiti, but for the most part, I have 8 years under my belt. Yesterday (yes on a Sunday), when I was talking with one of my students, I caught myself thinking, "I really wish he knew that..." This lead me to think of many things I wish my students knew.
Dear Student - I wish you knew...
1. I desperately want them to succeed. Not just succeed in my course, but to succeed in life. I don't try to make my class difficult just because it's fun to see them struggle. I don't make them do a lot of homework because I want to make their lives busy...I do it because I know that it will help them to succeed in the future...both failures and hard work, are learning experiences...in those learning experiences are when we often learn more.
2. I didn't get into teaching for the money. I'm not one of those teachers that complain about my salary (we do have a decent amount of breaks), but I also put in way more hours than I'm required. I got into teaching, because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help students, not just in Math, but in life. That means I want to know more about you than the score you had on your last test. I want to know what you like doing, what are you hobbies, who are your friends, what are your struggles?
3. When I'm not working, I still think about the class. I don't just shut the computer, walk away for the night and forget all about my students or my work. A lot of days it consumes me. How can I help so and so? How can I help them to get the math? I think about your life situations.
4. I pray for you. High school isn't easy. Friendships aren't easy. A lot of you are in situations that are very difficult. I pray for you. I pray you will find the Lord. I pray that you will seek him. I pray that you will be world-changers and make a difference in this world.
5. I have a life outside of my classroom. I have a family. I like to go to the movies. I like to shop. I like to go to the beach. I eat out at restaurants. Teaching is not the only thing I do.
6. Life is going to get harder. I know life seems difficult now...but it really is going to get harder. You will have more stress; not just in relationships, but in life. You will stress about the work that needs to get done, you will stress about finances. Life is going to get more difficult.
7. Enjoy every minute you are given. Life is short. Enjoy this time of your life. Don't wish it away. High school only happens once. Be in activities. Be engaged in your current life situation. Don't wish it away. You only get this time of your life once.
8. Live with no regrets. Don't pass up opportunities because of time or fear.
9. Just for fun...I'm not going to answer my phone at 10:30 if you call or text message. :)