Monday, February 8, 2010

Why I Do What I Do!

Every year when I fill out my income taxes and I come to the part where teachers can only deduct $250 for classroom expenses, I just die. (I spend that once a month on books for my classroom library.) Then I think to myself, "Whoever thinks this is fair is just one more person that doesn't get how much teachers do!"

I get to work every morning at 7 a.m. and I leave at 5:30 or 6 p.m. I, with many other teachers, put in at least a ten hour day. Then I go home and work at least another two hours planning, grading, helping students on the phone, and researching. I also work four to five hours on the weekends. That makes for about a sixty-five hour work week.

I know, no one ever said teaching was going to be easy, and I made this choice. But every once in a blue moon I just want to be appreciated. I just want someone to say thank you.

After finishing filling out my taxes and laughing at my pitiful return, I was WHINING! I was being a pissypants, and my New Year's resolution is to NOT be a pissypants. There I was whining like a kid not getting his way in a toy store when I checked my email and I was forwarded the following email:

My name is Samantha I am now 31 years old. I attended Peralta school twice during my childhood in the kindergarten and again in the 5th grade. I am looking for the woman who was my teacher in the 5th grade. Her name was Miss C.... Cathy Cunningham. While she was my teacher she was in a wheelchair. She made such a huge impact on my life. I have thought back to my time in her classroom many times over the past years. I have a feeling that she might not be alive anymore due to her health conditions. But I am praying that I am wrong. Both of my parents are deaf and that was such a struggle for me during my early years. Miss C helped me work through my parents’ handicap and helped me to know that it’s okay to be different or to have a disability.

After the 5th grade I moved to Washington. Now, I have moved back and am looking for Miss C. I'd love to know if she is still teaching there! Or if there is anyway to know or to find out if she is still alive or still teaching in Arizona. I am not sure if you are able to help me or not but I figured it might be best to start my search in the last place that I saw her.

Thank you so much for you time and for listening to my situation. I'd love a response back from you even if you aren't able to help me. That way I'll at least know that you got my message. Once again thank you so much.

After I finished bawling my guts out, drying my eyes, and slapping myself for being a pissypants, I immediately sent an email to this young lady. Just when I thought I was done crying Samantha sent me another email. Here is an excerpt from it:

Just knowing I found you is bringing tears to my eyes. I never had a chance to tell you how special you were to me and what a huge impact you made on my life. I didn't know at the time when I was young & in your class that I'd love and remember you forever. I still have the letters that you wrote to me. I find them every once in a while when going through my stuff and read them. Thank you so much for everything you did for me as a child. All of the love & attention you showed me really made a lasting impression on me. I'm not sure if you remember but you even took me to the mall once to buy me some lysine for my cold sores.... I still remember your little white mini van & how you'd let me operate the lift for you.

Then when I finished bawling again I knew this is why I do what I do. This is not the only letter that I have received like this, but, unfortunately, they are few and far between. I am okay with working so many hours. I am okay with working at home after school and on the week ends. I am okay with having no money and a lousy income tax return. I am okay with anything that comes my way. I will do it for the Samantha's of the world because they deserve it!

At the beginning of the school year I was creating a powerpoint with quotes from teachers that I work alongside. Below is one of those quotes:

Sometimes there is one person who changes the course of a child’s life, who even might save it. Assume that you are that person, every day, for every child. At least once in your career it will be true. And once is so worth it. -Lenora Counts

Lenora is so right once is worth it.

Paco's Perspective

Have you thanked me lately for making a difference in your life, Miss Pissypants?

The Flip Side

Am I a pissypants? Or is it I piss you off when I piss on the floor?


  1. That is really very special :) What a gift to receive just the right words when you needed them.

    Sometimes that "poor me" feeling appears when it comes to taking money, time, or energy away from my own kids and giving it to other people's children. But I have to squash it right away.

    That's what we do, right? That's who we are. That's what makes an ordinary person into an extraordinary teacher...the kind whose former students grow up and send such heartfelt emails. Can't put a price on that.

  2. 果然很有意思呀....這當然要頂一頂呀 ̄﹏ ̄........................................