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The Story After the Tweet

Moments after I posted that picture, I got another text from my principal. It said, "You do make a difference ::winky-kissy emoji::"

I know what she meant. I do. I know it's a kindness when it's very apparent that I'm unhappy and feel unappreciated. But here's the thing: not once in my career have I ever doubted that I make a difference in the lives of my students. In fact, I probably have an over-inflated sense of my importance to my students. I know I make a difference. I know they adore me. I know they look forward to seeing me for a myriad of reasons - few of them musical.

And I know that if I felt my job contribution was of even a quarter of the importance to the adults I work with, I wouldn't be feeling the way I am.

The place I'm at in my career has nothing to do with students in any way. I've said it before: I need to teach like I need air. I'm a great teacher too. (Otherwise, would I have the same type of impact on students?) I've never been recognized by my peers as such, in a way large or small. I realize how that sounds - like I have tiny hands - but recognition is important. Everyone wants to be seen in some way.

I don't need to be teacher of the year/month/week, I just want someone who has seen me at my work to acknowledge what I do.  
I don't need the word "babysitter" thrown back in my face when I use it to describe how I've been treated, I just want a colleague to mention the lesson that we are doing in my classroom.  
I don't need to be the technology expert in the room, I just want people to remember that I have different skills that might be of use to them.

I guess that text underlines the whole thing: people misunderstand what I do and the fervor I have for doing it well. The picture made me so happy. The addition of the words was a sour reminder that I feel taken for granted by adults, that I feel like I fill a function, not provide a essential part of a student's education.

The kids know better. They see. They feel it.

That should be enough.

It's not.


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