What Gratitude May Come

On Fridays we have “fun” in my eighth grade keyboarding class which right now means that I'm introducing them to the future of technology and giving some thought provoking predictions along with videos for the next few years. We were talking about Google glasses and augmented reality.

I had forgotten that the seniors were over to the side working on their term papers, when one spoke up and said,

“Mrs. Vicki, I made a film two years a go about Google glasses, I predicted them.”

And rightly so, he did.

This video was created for the NetGenEd project two years a go.

He worked very hard to predict what augmented reality would look like and I'm shocked to see how close I think he came.

This fits with an email that I received just last night from a student I taught five years a go.

As a Telecommunications major at ******* many of my courses overlap the many lessons I once had in your class. In my Media and Technology class we examine emerging trends and future developments in the technological side of communications.I laugh to think of these as emerging trends when they include such things as the power of blogs, wikis, and other features of Web 2.0 that you taught to me nearly 5 years ago. So firstly, thank you for truly functioning on the cutting edge… Please stay ahead of the curve. 

Additionally, in my Media Production class, my professor asked who was adept at using Excel. I was shocked when only myself and another raised our hands. He looked at us, unimpressed, and said you two will get internships. It's funny to see how many people have never used excel and how important it is, when, to a student at Westwood, these skills were standard and even trivialized in the back of my mind by how often and thoroughly we used them.  

I just wanted to thank you. It's hard for a high school kid to appreciate the gravity of what you teach…. 

I hope your students take this to heart much more than I did at their age because if they do, they too will be lightyears ahead of the curve.

What this student didn't know is that just yesterday after school I was asking myself hard questions. Things like:

  • Am I pushing kids too hard? 
  • Is it worth all the headache and struggle to sometimes do this sort of thing?
  • Does it really matter at all?
We all ask these questions. We wonder why we teach or if we should teach at all.
If you've heard me speak, one thing I always say is that

it is not whether a child thanks you today – if you're an excellent teacher, usually, they won't. 

It is whether they thank you in five years when they are in college.

Those words came back to me like the Ghost of Christmas past came to Scrooge to convince me that it is worth pushing and doing and struggling. It is worth it.
Teaching is a noble calling. I don't want to leave the classroom or my school or do anything else.

Doubts  are just that. Doubts. Emotions can deceive me. It doesn't help that I was Friday afternoon tired by Wednesday afternoon of this week.

I have to forgo the thank you today knowing that it will come one day if I do my job, work hard, and be a visionary for my students who can't really see past their own hormones right now.

You can do this, friends. Be a teacher. It is a noble calling. Anyone who works with students who are often ungrateful, unappreciative and don't want to do anything… hold your standard high and work hard. They WILL thank you one day.

This was written during the school year in May but I was so busy, I didn't have time to proof it. Sharing it for you now.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere