Friday, November 15, 2013

Duties and Relationships

I had some teachers that I really loved and who could have told me to learn almost anything, and I would have done it. Why? Because in addition to the work done in the classroom, I had a personal relationship with them. I went out for the school activities they sponsored or coached. I saw them at all the school functions - plays, concerts, ballgames, and more. They were the ones who punched my activity card at basketball games and worked with me in the concession stand. The teachers I remember as my very best teachers were those who believed that relationship was everything and who looked for ways to build relationships outside of the classroom.

Because of those experiences and my resulting world view, I think it's a missed opportunity when teachers choose not to do their assigned school duties, the ones who pay to have someone else take tickets or supervise the events they are assigned to. I believe it means the world to elementary students coming through the high school football gate to be greeted by classroom teachers, and it's uplifting and affirming to high school students to see their current or former teachers at their concerts, games, and plays. As human beings we are dying to be validated as whole human beings who share more than the classroom assignment that's due tomorrow.

I know it's a different world than when I was in school. More teachers live out of town, raising their families in different schools. There are personal and family conflicts with assigned duties. I am also certain that teachers aren't maliciously having others do their duties. My point, however, is that our communities aren't as closely knit as they once were, and there aren't as many opportunities for us to cross the same paths as our students. Therefore, being at a couple of school functions a year has become much more important than simply the means of earning one's activity ticket.

Please think about the opportunities missed by not participating in the events that your students and their families are involved in. These tiny commitments on your part may just help build a relationship that keeps a child in school or gets a child to work harder or helps them feel like a part of something bigger that is safe and supportive and caring.

Think about it. You may even decide to attend more events than just your assigned duties.

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