“You did good”

I just want this to be a quick shout out to all the wonderful teachers out there. Yesterday, I was at my great aunt’s retirement party. She was a kindergarten teacher for many, many years, and I admire her so much for all the patience and endurance she had to use with her job. Since it’s Father’s Day, I’ll recognize my dad, too. He and my mom homeschooled my siblings and I for several years, and they were amazing. My dad was especially a great math teacher; only in 10th grade did I finally get a math teacher that was better than him (and this teacher is so smart, he created his own multivariable calculus course). A lot of times, my dad pushed me in math, and we zoomed through it. It’s true, I didn’t necessarily enjoy math when my dad taught it. But I learned a lot, just the same. I now know (after hearing it multiple times from my dad) that when in doubt, draw a diagram! I remember when he made me create a dimensional drawing of our house. The whole time we did it, I complained about how much work he was making me do. Looking back on it now, I can say that that was such a fun project, and I’m glad he made me do it.

See, I’ve been thinking a lot about some of my best teachers. And it’s kind of funny, but one of my absolute favorite teachers was my 8th grade English teacher. You wouldn’t think that an 8th grade teacher would be so much better than a high school teacher, but this one was. And what made him so great was the standard he set from day 1. On the first day, as teachers have the tendency to do, he gave us the syllabus/course expectations sheet. One of our duties and responsibilities was “to take yourself further than you were yesterday.” Did you catch that? It wasn’t just an expectation or a suggestion; this was a duty and a responsibility. From day 1, he had called us to challenge ourselves. And I did challenge myself. And that is why I can say that I learned so much in that class. It was the first time I had really been challenged in public schooling, and I loved every second of it.

See, the best teachers don’t really care if the work load is sometimes too hard (my freshman science teacher certainly didn’t). The best teachers push you to your absolute limits, and let that experience change the way you think and work. And at the end of the year, you realize how much you really did learn. And when your teacher tells you “you did good” (knowing full well that it’s not grammatically correct, but saying it anyways), they truly mean it.

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