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kindness counts!

I love being a teacher.  When people ask me what I do, I beam when I answer "I teach second grade!"  I'm living my dream job everyday.  It's hard and exhausting and emotionally draining, but if I went back and did it all again, I would never pick another career.

But sadly the face of education is changing, and quickly.  Children are changing.  Parenting styles are changing. I've only been teaching my own class for 4 years, yet even in that short time I have seen the change in a real and scary way.  My Facebook feed is flooded with stories of my colleagues leaving this profession I know and love for many different reasons - underpaid, over-worked, under-appreciated, or just plain worn out.  The demands on teachers are insane and I find that most the time it's better not to think about them at all, just keep plowing through.

These articles bring a certain sadness and almost resentment to the education world - like how could a thing that is so amazing and necessary and good be driving away so many amazing, qualified teachers.  The recent passing of law that allows basically anyone to be hired as a teacher - teaching degree or not - kinda stung a little too.  Add that to the myriad of budget issues, parents that never quite understand your intentions, increasing requirements from the state and nation, unacceptable student behaviors, dropping test scores, new programs to learn each year, never enough time in the day, conflicts with coworkers, on and on and on..... a day in the life can be a little overwhelming.

My heart hurts the most when a parent misunderstands my intentions.  How I send a well-meaning e-mail in the most positive and caring of tones only to have it shoved back in my face, or the administrator called in.  How they don't believe what I say or become defensive rather than taking a side on my team for a positive solution.  How I can never seem to do enough to please them or take care of their child.  Or how "you just don't understand".  Etc. Etc.

But this week I was reminded of a powerful lesson.

At the beginning of the school year, I always send out a positive e-mail to each parent individually simply to tell them how much I enjoy having their child in my class and a few strengths I've noticed in the short time I've known their child.  I love writing these e-mails because I know every parents wants to hear the amazing things their child is doing at school and these kinds of e-mails are rare.  It also gives me an opportunity to reflect on each of my new kiddies and appreciate them for who they are and what they add to my new classroom.

Every time without fail, when I sent one of these e-mails, I get back the most glowing, appreciative, kind note in return.  I've been moved to tears a few times just this past week in reading some of the responses parents send me.

It got me thinking about all the times I complain to Krys about the terrible e-mails I sometimes get back from parents.  But then I thought how can I expect to receive warm and glowing e-mails from parents when all the e-mail did was report bad behavior, no matter how pleasantly and tactfully I worded it?

Kindness never goes out of style, my friends.  I dare say the world needs a lot more of it, too.  Believe in love <3 nbsp="" p="">

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