Making a Difference


Anne, Centennial Park, Nashville TN

Anne, Centennial Park, Nashville TN

Anne received the most effusive praise today that I have ever heard. The praise came in the form of an email from the mother of one of her new second graders. If you recall, Anne began a three-month long-term substitute teaching position on Monday. The way she was she was asked to work this assignment was somewhat unusual. She got the messaged request over the Christmas break, because the original long-term sub quit, right before break and after only one week on the job. The regular teacher is on maternity leave. Anne fretted a bit about the other sub’s quick departure. Was this one of those classes that has a reputation? In the end, she decided that it couldn’t be that bad, because after all, it is only second grade.

Anne has been substitute teaching in the school district for more years than these kids are old. Now, there have been some behavioral issues this week, but nothing that she couldn’t handle. The email’s high praise begins with the mother talking about her son, who is in the class. The week before break, her son would come home crying about how wild and chaotic school had become. He was so disheartened that the mom decided not to do any school work with him over the break, just give him a rest. That all changed on Monday, when he came home, his old self again and announced to his mother, “We have a new substitute teacher and it’s Mrs. R!” The email went on to express the mother’s gratitude. It was quite some message. It was more praise than I’ve ever received. I’m lucky to get a ‘good job’ and be done with it, but I guess that this is an example of one of those non-monetary rewards that makes teaching worth it all. Taylor Mali once asked, “What Do Teacher’s Make?” They make a difference!

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