A Teacher's Thanksgiving Post

On Wednesday morning, my students had several writing prompt options to choose from. To my surprise, many of them chose the prompt, "What part of school are you thankful for?"  Here are some of the answers:
  • I'm thankful for Mr. _________ who had the courage to call the police when I was too afraid. 
  • I'm thankful for school breakfast. A few years ago, I only got breakfast half the time. 
  • I'm thankful for computers and for the teachers who let us bring our iPods to class. 
  • I'm thankful for the fact that I can read and speak in English, even if it's still not perfect. 
  • I'm thankful that my coach, Ms. _________ sees me as a person instead of just a test score. 
  • I'm thankful for projects. 
  • I'm thankful for recess. 
  • I'm thankful for Mrs. ________ who listened to me when I felt like the worst person on the planet for being gay. She saw something good in me that I didn't see. 
  • I'm thankful for math. No, really, I am. Here's why . . .
  • I'm thankful for Mr. _________ who makes something as boring as history fun. I never thought it mattered until . . .
As I read this list, I'm thankful for the fact that I get to be a teacher. I'm thankful that I am trusted with people's stories and that I get to push kids to think critically. I'm thankful that I'm not alone, that for all the talk of how teachers "just don't care," just about every teacher on campus is mentioned by name as someone who had an impact on a kid's life. 

Don't get me wrong. We need to break away from the excessive testing and the system of standardization. However, good things are happening. A few years back, Nicholas Provenzano created the hash tag #schooldidagoodthing. As I look back at this list, I'm struck by the reality that this is true.

Note: I have re-worded a few parts and avoided names in order to protect the privacy of students. 

Feel free to download Wendell the World's Worst Wizard. It's less than five dollars. Or you could buy the physical book (on sale right now from twelve dollars down to $10.46) and get the Kindle download for a dollar.