One of my teachers sent the following email to our staff. The subject line was: “A Thanksgiving Thought.” With his permission, I am posting it below in its entirety:
I want to share a comment that was made to me today. It could be both good and sad. A student asked me how my day was going and I said, “Great! How is your day going?” She said, “Okay, but it is sad.” I asked her why it was sad and she said that today was the last day of school this week and she really loves it here. She said she would rather be here than home.
Those words really made a big impression on me. I thought about how I am so excited to go home and have a few days off to be with my family. I thought that maybe she just loves TSGC that much, or maybe she doesn’t want to be at home because it isn’t that great. Whatever the case, the fact that she loves our school means a lot to me. No matter how frustrated we are and think, “These kids are out of control today and I just can’t wait for the end of 8th period to get here!”—there are some of our students that aren’t that excited about it.
We never know what they are going home to, and sometimes we probably don’t really want to know some of the things these kids are going through. I couldn’t imagine not looking forward to going home for Thanksgiving break because my home was full of love and it was my safe place. I say this as encouragement to all of us—we do make a difference and these students are worth it. We may be the only smile they get today.
I know I am not the best teacher at times and can be negative when I shouldn’t be, but I also know that I am in this because I truly care about these kids. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives and I hope that it is always a positive difference. Although some students may be disrespectful, some may seem not to care, some may get on our nerves, and some may never stop talking—what we do in the classroom today makes a difference in the world tomorrow.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and give your students a smile and some words of encouragement today.
There’s not much I can add to this. We all have much to be grateful for. One of the things I’m grateful for is having colleagues like Greg Ragland who are committed to making a difference for kids.
You can follow Greg Ragland on Twitter @GregRagland.
Danny Steele serves as the principal of Thompson Sixth Grade Center in Alabaster, AL, where his passion is building a school culture that values connections with kids, fosters collaboration among teachers, and focuses on raising student achievement. In 2005 Steele was recognized as Alabama’s Assistant Principal of the Year, and in 2016 he was named Alabama’s Secondary Principal of the Year. He is currently writing two books with Todd Whitaker. Follow him on Twitter @SteeleThoughts and check out his blog Steele Thoughts.