As a teacher and as a Christian I want to be supportive of my students (actually all students of the school). I want them to know that I care about them. I want to be visible to them outside of the school walls. Therefore I try to attend extra-curricular activities, especially sporting events, as much as possible.
Yesterday I went to some basketball games that students were playing in. The first couple of games included students that I teach everyday. I love being there to cheer them on! Often when they see me, they say hello and/or wave to me. I also went to a game for younger students. I had a parent tell me that he really appreciated that I was there to support the students (he had also seen me at the earlier games, as his daughter played in one and he was the coach). He made sure that his younger daughter told me thank you for coming to her game. It really made me feel like I was doing something good.
Then today I got another thank you from a parent (her daughter was on the younger team and her husband coached). She said that after the game a bunch of the girls were talking about how I was there! They just thought it was really cool! She said how much she appreciates it! I told her that I love watching the students play and try to see all the different teams play at least once (I am going to more games next weekend for some teams I haven't seen play yet).
The impact of those thank-yous were pretty big! It really made me feel like I am doing something important! In the past I have had someone within the school question my commitment and my priorities. I just wish this person could hear all the thank yous that I get in circumstances like this. While lesson planning and grading are important parts of being a teacher, I also think that showing students that I care about them (especially about them as more than just bodies in the classroom) is an important part of my vocation!
So I guess in response to those thank yous I say "You're welcome" and thank you for recognizing my dedication and commitment to the students and their families.
Have a blessed week in the Lord!