It was report card day for my third grader today. She and I picked up her dad from his workplace and drove to her school. We walked into the building after more than two years! (Pandemic report cards were all sent as soft copies; this one was a proper printed one as school is back to partly in-person, though she hasn’t gone yet.)
She was a nervous wreck. Excited, nervous, enthusiastic, all emotions unbridled. We took some time to locate her classroom, and the teacher, even without seeing her, saw me and asked if I was her mom and was there for the report card. She hid behind me and was not ready to come out to speak to the teacher. I don’t blame her. She was in this building as a first grader last.
“There’s something I have for you,” the teacher said, trying to coax the shy nine year-old out from behind me. “This is from the math teacher,” she said, handing her a light-up pen. “And this is from me.” It was a small embellished tie-up bag, with some goodies, a hairband, and a pair of heart-shaped clips inside.
I managed to get her to say a polite thank you, and I thanked her profusely myself. I thanked her from the bottommost core of my being. I should know how hard it has been to teach these past two years. I’ve heard parents complain about teachers being replaced frequently, about schools still charging the same fees even though it’s ‘just’ virtual teaching, “from the comforts of their homes.” Well, I should know better. I should know the reasons behind those teachers being replaced every few months – teachers, like other human beings, were traveling and getting stuck in other countries; teachers, like other human beings, were coping with huge personal losses, with ill-health, with demotivation; teachers, like other human beings, were parenting and teaching their own kids and working their jobs simultaneously. Teachers bought their own white boards and hung them on their home walls to teach. I could go on and on. And schools continued to charge the same fees in most cases, yes. But then, all other professionals who moved their services online also did the same. In fact, some hiked their charges. No one complains about those. When it comes to teachers, some people are simply never satisfied.
As we walked back to the car, I said to my husband – “You saw that? They’re not paid very well here in this school. Yet, they spend from their salaries on gifts for their students, some of whom they’ve never met! Teachers really have the largest hearts of all professions.” And I sure took pride in that statement myself!
Teachers really have the largest hearts.
As for the light-up pen, it was used to write a story about a girl who goes to school after two years, and realizes she wants to return the very next day!