Even more unofficially, as I've driven around the district for the past several weeks, it is clear that school started weeks ago. Teachers have been coming to their schools throughout the month of August eager to set up their classrooms, move desks and chairs, hang bulletin board material, and create new learning spaces. They did not come alone. Teachers brought their children, their spouses, their significant others, their parents - anyone who could lend a hand.
As Novi prepares for the upcoming school year it is appropriate to ask what kind of teachers do we want for our children?
My children are grown now, but when they were young clearly and obviously I wanted teachers who would help my children learn. I wanted educated, informed, skilled teachers who could present information, encourage my children to discover ideas, and help my children learn what they needed to know to effectively function in our global society.
I wanted my children to grow into thinkers and inventors and entrepreneurs. I wanted my children to be doctors and business leaders and professionals. I wanted my children to be voters and involved community members.
What kind of teacher did I want for my children?
I wanted teachers who could help my children learn.
But is that all?
It was not.
This summer I read a book - Ms. Bixby's Last Day.
It was a wonderful experience.
In the book Miss Bixby says to Christopher:
We all have moments when we think nobody really sees us. When we feel like we have to act out or be somebody else just to get noticed. But somebody notices, Topher. Somebody sees. Somebody out there probably thinks you’re the greatest thing in the whole world. Don’t ever think you’re not good enough.
That's who I wanted in a teacher for my child. I wanted someone who would see the possibility, the potential, the hope that I saw when I looked at my child.
In some ways having a teacher who can see my child is as important, if not more important, than having a teacher who is the smartest teacher in the world.
My child and I could find information. What my child needed in this world was advocates and cheerleaders and adults who were willing to challenge and encourage and motivate and push my child to be the person they could become.
Don't get me wrong. I wanted my child's teachers to know their subject and be able to teach it well. I wanted teachers who had a passion for biology and chemistry and writing and reading and math and health and technology.
But I also wanted teachers for my children who were willing to look and really see my child.
As a parent I could not do it alone.
I needed teachers to help.