Thursday, April 17, 2014

They don't stop.

You know who are my favorite group of people on the planet?


I sound like Oprah. And gosh, I wish I could be all you get a car, you get a car to every deserving teacher, because seriously, they deserve a car plus so much more. I'm not just saying this because I was a teacher. I mean, sometimes I even feel silly talking about those days because I only spent a measly 4 (was it 4? 3? gosh, I can't keep track) years in the trenches. It was pre-kids and honestly, I'm so different now as a person, the way that having kids shapes and changes you, you know? I can barely grasp onto those teacher days...barely. They seem so distant.

Last night I decided to ditch my evening workout with my husband and insisted on heading to those glorious, shiny white aisles with my red cart, alone. I had gift cards to burn and Easter baskets to fill. I was a woman on a (slow, relaxed, no-kids-throwing popcorn-out-of-the-cart) mission. It was the kind of evening I just needed and I knew it.

As I was, you know, hanging out in the clothing department--slowwwwly searching through every pretty article of clothing, I happened to notice a teen daughter and her momma. They were bickering a little bit, but in that way that moms & daughters do at that age.

          Ughhhh MOM, I cannot wear a blazer. What, do you think that I'm 80 or something?

Well, sweetie--I hate to break it to you, but a maxi skirt is NOT business casual. 

         (insert eyeroll from teen daughter and a huuuuge sigh/huff/what do you know, mom)

I immediately flashed back to my teen years. God, I'm sure that exact conversation happened at some point in my life. Now, I'd wear a cute blazer in a second. What has the world come to?

Suddenly, I saw another woman, maybe about the Mom's age, who seemed to come out of nowhere--she piped up and got right into their conversation.

        You know, your mom is right. A maxi skirt isn't business casual.

When the mom & daughter looked up it was obvious from their reaction and exchange of greetings that they knew this woman, and the woman was the girl's teacher from school. The exact teacher requiring said 'business casual' outfit for a special presentation due right after Easter.

The irony, huh?

The teacher? She just had that warm teacher vibe. You know the one. The kind of vibe that made you hope your own kid's have amazing teachers like her one day. She was kind. She engaged with the mom & daughter. She gave her tips on the kind of clothes that would be appropriate for business casual. And she told her to make sure she relaxed this weekend, enjoyed the holiday and tried not to stress about this presentation too much. Enjoy time with your family. That's the most important thing, anyway.

Then that teacher looked straight into the momma's eyes and told her that her daughter has been a gift to her this year in her classroom. She told her what a gem her daughter is, how much she enjoys her presence in her classroom, and that she sees how special and unique she is. You've got a good one, Ma.

I almost teared up, right there searching through the bathing suit cover-ups. It's the kind of thing that just gets every parent, right in the heart, in that warm and proud kinda way. The daughter's face lit up, but also got a little red from that semi-embarrassment thing that happens when you're in the awkward teen years. But you could see her pride beaming out of her eyeballs though, which were a little glassed over, because, doesn't hearing nice things like that make everyone just feel...good?

It was in those moments that I just felt so much overwhelming gratitude for teachers. They don't stop teaching, ever. She was on Spring Break. She ran into her student at Target. She could have easily ran and hid in the sunglasses section and avoided the encounter all together. But instead she engaged them. She took a moment and made it a teachable one. She helped the momma out by being the voice of reason that a maxi skirt isn't business casual. And most of all, she took a moment to brag on this girl--which I'm sure made both of their day.

I mean, heck, it touched me.

When your child's teacher sees that special thing that you do? There's nothing better.

Teachers don't ever stop teaching.


  1. Amen from one teacher turned mama to another :) I almost teared up READING the story. ;) xo

  2. No, we don't, but that is partly why we choose the profession. I can't tell you how many times I run into parents or students grocery shopping, home improvement shopping, etc. in our small town. But, I know, even with the students I don't teach but see everyday, they are watching and acknowledging them makes their day. When I can, I try to let parents know positives their child is doing in my classroom, but also that they are doing a great job as well. Parenting is hard. We know that. I can't imagine what it will be like when my kids are in junior high, and I know I will need all the compliments in the world to know the trenches won't be caving in on me. Thanks for sharing this story! It has encouraged me to do more for both my students and their parents.

  3. Yesterday I surprised Nathan at school and spent a few hours there. I had a moment during recess to talk to his teacher. She is a first year teacher and I'm so grateful that Nathan has her. And I'm pretty sure she'll never forget him either because, you see, he's her most challenging student. He gets in trouble more often and doesn't listen or follow directions as well. He's a hyperactive little thing with a super strong will. But one thing that makes his teacher so awesome is that she never makes me feel that my son is "that kid"- she truly is trying so hard to get through to him. To troubleshoot what works and what doesn't. And we are and always have been working on him at home behavior wise and we hope we are striking that delicate balance of strictness. Teachers are amazing. To see her in action teaching the kids was wonderful for me. And although it wouldn't sound like it- she makes me feel that he is indeed a blessing to her class.

  4. Sweet story. Makes this teacher feel good!

  5. this post is beautiful. as a student-teacher 3 weeks away from graduation, i am reeeeally excited to get a classroom of my own and make a positive impact on my students. :)

  6. Teachers just are a special kind of people. That's a great encounter you got to witness.

  7. I'm so glad you witnessed that and shared it with us. I have SO much respect for teachers!!