I had some pretty bad moments as a student. I have no idea what happened to me in grade 7 and 8, but I was like a kid from another planet. I went from a sweet and innocent child, to a tyrant that was always getting into trouble.
Mrs. Oleksyn, my principal during that time, had to put up with a lot of my issues. In one class, I was continuously being disruptive and bothering others, and she told me that I was not allowed to go back until I apologized which I refused to do. Literally a day later, with no apology, she sent me back knowing that I would not budge. I even punched her in the stomach (seriously) when I thought she was someone else on the playground. Yes, I punched my female principal in the stomach when I was 13. Although it was accidental, you could see that I was not on a good path.
Mr. Dutchak was my Algebra teacher in high school which was one of the subjects that I struggled with the most. What does a kid (or people) do when they struggle? Either try to be invisible or become a pain. I am not the invisible type. I did everything to be a pain and jerk as a kid to him because, looking back, I struggled with the subject.
Both of these teachers put up with so much because of my insecurities, dealing with growing up, and just being a brat.
Both of these teachers were also at my father’s funeral and made sure that they came up to me (and my family) to give their condolences and tell me how highly they thought of my father.
When many cut down teachers and say things like they get paid too much or they do it for the “holidays”, just know that at the same time a teacher is probably visiting one of their students in the hospital, watching a little league game, coordinating a trip and spending their weekends with students as their coach, or reaching out to them when they are dealing with something like I dealt with. Not just the “good” kids, but the ones that were like me. They see past the kid they are at the time, and they focus on the adult that kid (with guidance) could become. Neither Mr. Dutchak or Mrs. Oleksyn gave up on me when it would have been really easy to do just that. They were actually there for me (and my siblings) during the toughest time of my life, twenty years after I left school.
Are all teachers like this? Nope. But a ton of them are and they are the people that inspired me to become a teacher, and still inspire me today.
To those teachers, I say both “sorry” and “thank you”.
To people outside of the profession, just remember that many teachers do much more than teach a curriculum. They help develop people.