Every morning I kiss the blonde stubble on his cheek and send him off for the day, to spend seven hours out of my sight in that huge public school of his.Then I get dressed and put all my school supplies in a bag. Inhaling a quick lunch, I head for the Christian high school for the afternoon, where I welcome into my Spanish classroom the young faces that belong to a few dozen other mommas out there.
And all of us moms want to know one thing –that our kid is a delight to have in class.
So I thought I would write to you, as a fellow mom who has worked to raise an honorable man and also as a teacher, to tell you what kinds of qualities I appreciate in those students I enjoy every day.
- A pushed-in chair. It’s not a small act of service when a student tidies up after himself and makes things pleasant for the next student who will come to that same spot.
- A thank-you. Most students race for the door when the bell rings, but I have a few who say, Thank you, Mrs. Fitzwater, as they leave the room. They show gratitude for my teaching and appreciation for me as a person, even if it’s just because their momma taught them to.
- A cheerful work ethic. It’s so nice when students receive an assignment and get to work on it without griping and moaning. All of the students end up doing the same work, but only some of them do it cheerfully.
- A readiness to help. We had this food day in class, which was super fun and equally messy. I asked if someone would empty the garbage, and immediately there were a few guys out of their seats and taking care of it. I wanted to give them A’s for the quarter just for chivalry.
- A kindness of speech. Our culture is full of sharp phrases used jokingly, like Shut up, and I hate you, and I’m gonna kill you. Students who speak with gentleness and kindness are refreshing to everyone.
This list of mine is an encouragement for us moms, to keep plodding along in all the tedious micro-teaching we do every day, like asking a kid to push in his chair at the table, and the next meal asking him to push in his chair at the table, and the next meal asking him to push in his chair at the table. Insisting on a thank you for every glass of milk and juice and water poured. Saying, How could you say that kindly? to every sibling squabble. Requiring a child’s help around the house and refusing to allow work to be done with a sour attitude.
It is wearying work to teach a child to be a pleasant adult.
But imagine attending your child’s teacher’s conference one day and hearing the teacher say, I enjoy your child.
Let’s not grow weary in the daily work of shaping our child’s character.