At the end of every school year (or Winter Break for you Northerners) students begin to excitedly discuss their hopes, dreams and aims for Christmas…especially when it comes to some sort of present.
Teachers are no different.
I love receiving presents from the kids and families, not just for the sake of presents (which the inner kid in me absolutely loves), but because of the insight you get into how the family and student see you.
Coffee Mug? You love coffee.
Boston Celtics cap? Gooooo Celtics!
Hawthorn mug and scarf? Anything can go in that mug at a football game!
Cinemas gift cards? You love a good story, go enjoy a visual one!
Beer? You may think you fool us into thinking you only drink coffee.
Sketchbook? For your next inspired drawing.
Restaurant gift cards? We know you love to eat (this is very true).
Chocolate? You spent all year dropping hints, so we had to give you some.
(Let’s also not forget that simply having taken the time to get us a present is pretty good too, though I’m pretty sure over the years I have definitely been the recipient of some re-gifting… the other person’s name on it gave it away).
Receiving any kind of present really is AMAZING.
Seriously, it always blows my mind just how thoughtful families are each and every year.
However, there is one thing that easily outranks all of those things.
The thing that every single teacher really, truly does want in their Christmas stocking at the end of every year…
Thoughtful notes from kids or parents*.
I’m not going to lie, they make my whole year**.
Don’t get me wrong, all of the other items are incredibly thoughtful and appreciated too, but there is something amazing about reading words from a kid or parent that explains what has impacted or changed one of your students.
As a teacher we spend so much time on the day by day, minute by minute, focus group by focus group level, that we sometimes forget about the bigger picture – the change in the kids over the whole year.
Sometimes we forget about that one kid who came in at the start of the year never speaking in front of groups…who now presents confidently in front of the whole school at an assembly.
Or the kid who’s one goal at the beginning of the year was to have more than one friend…who’s biggest issue now is which group of friends to play with each day.
Or the student labelled “One of the naughty kids, so look out”…who was one of the most passionate and dedicated learners in the class.
Teachers often forget about the bigger impact they can have on kids and families.
That’s why receiving those notes or letters is incredible and energising. It reminds us of the impact all of those seemingly small actions and decisions have in the long run.
Any parents reading this, please take the time to stop and think about how your child has changed over the year. If you have seen some notable changes, why not stop and send an email, letter or card to your child’s teacher?
You just might make their whole year.
What’s the greatest thing you have received from a parent or student?
Parents, what’s the greatest change you’ve seen in your kids over a year?
*Yes, we know this is a little bit corny and cliche, but you know what? Um, Shut up.
**Especially after the amount of hardships, failed lessons, extended staff meetings, frustrating times with colleagues or forms to fill in forms we’ve experienced throughout the year
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