Teaching is one of the most challenging jobs ever. I take my work home with me—there's grading, and lesson planning, and reading, and answering students' frantic emails. I hold my breath and say many fervent prayers as I pass back C papers to my students. I feel frustrated when I invest a lot of time in a new lesson plan, only for it to completely and utterly flop in class. I've learned the hard way that I shouldn't abbreviate analysis on students' work because they get papers back with anal. written all over the margins.
But teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs ever. I get to interact with students who are eager to learn, fun to be around, and interesting to talk to. I am in an environment where learning is reciprocal—I learn so much from my students. I see students cultivating growth mindsets, as they are willing to experiment with writing and challenge themselves. My best success story was when my student finished the class with a B-, and he was absolutely thrilled. He was joyful because he worked so hard, he learned so much, and he realized that "writing didn't stink that bad."
Now that I am a teacher and plan on teaching for a while, my appreciation for my own teachers is enormous. I am thankful for my elementary school teachers who put up with a dramatic, tragic-helmet-head kid. I am thankful for my AP English teacher in high school who sparked my passion for classic literature and made me watch a terrible version of The Great Gatsby with Robert Redford. I am thankful for my seminary teachers who were up at the crack of dawn to teach scripture to bleary-eyed, grumpy teenagers. I am thankful for Kate Frost, my English professor at ASU who excited students about discussing literature, who inspired me to teach, and who got the ball rolling for my thesis on "The Yellow Wallpaper." I am thankful for my teachers at the Tempe Institute who changed my life and did so much more than just strengthen my testimony. I am thankful for Meanie Jerkins, my dad's office neighbor, who invited me over for lunch, just so I could hash out my writing ideas with her. I am thankful for my professors at BYU who are brilliant and have elevated my writing to such a level that even my dad says, "Whoa, that's good" when he reads my work.
And of course, I am thankful for my mom and dad, who are the ultimate teachers (besides Jesus). They have taught me for 22 years, and I am shocked that they haven't permanently glued a dunce cap on my head. Some of their instructive practices are unorthodox (thank you, Mom, for abruptly slamming on the brakes when we didn't wear our seat belts, and thank you, Dad, for teaching me that a stop sign really means slight-tap-on-pedal). But my parents' teachings have always been aligned in the Gospel, and they have always stemmed from the love they have for their children. They're great, and when they read my heartfelt post, they'll be extra nice to me this weekend.
So, thank you, teachers! And extra blessings for you... for putting up with the craziest student ever.
(I showed this video in class, today, for my lesson about rhetorical strategies. It feels appropriate for this post!)