Friday, February 13, 2015

On the bright side of education

So I see it has been over a month since I last blogged. As per usual, I wrote a couple of posts in my head. I am pretty sure I did not write a post after having a mini panic attack a few weeks ago. I woke up early a few Mondays ago and just started to fret about so many things. I was alternating between sobbing and something else. At one point, I was not even sure I could breath. I was quite upset. But strangely that feels like a lifetime ago, fortunately (you can't keep an optimistic down for too long, I guess).

I blame part of my blogging absence on the state of the world. There is just so much bad news. So many sad, frustrating, and/or anger-inducing stories out there. Particularly, there is too much violence and hatred. Sometimes within miles of where I live (see Monroeville Mall shooting).

But I wanted to share something that caused me to smile. Something that gives me hope.

A couple of weeks ago, a woman I went to grade school with posted on Facebook that she received a phone call from one of the teachers of her 16-year-old son. To praise him! The teacher told this woman that not only was her son doing well in class, but he was a joy to have in class due to his manners. How great for her, her husband, her son, and even the teacher. I know firsthand how much easier/nicer it is to tell a parent her child is doing well.

Then a couple of days ago, this same woman posted a picture of a letter addressed to her son from a different teacher who had equally high praise for the son.This teacher said that he saw him being inquisitive and caring about understanding how things work. Honestly, the letter almost brought tears to my eyes.

I have not seen this woman in about 30 years. I, probably obviously, don't know her son. But how great is it that teachers can take the time to praise the positive. Teachers get a lot of grief, and sometimes it is justified. But I think we should acknowledge the teachers who take the time to do this sort of thing. And, as important, let's here it for the kids who get the high praise. And behind those kids are good parents the vast majority of the time.

I took to FB this morning, to see if this was some kind of anomaly. It turns out, it actually does happen to some people. More than a dozen friends posted that they had received a call, email, or letter from a teacher acknowledging their child. A couple of teacher friends said they try (or have tried) to do it (I am not willing to give my HS French teacher as much credit since his were in the form of computerized progress reports).

That's all I have tonight. But it's enough.


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