In Praise of the Good Teacher


This morning, as he was getting his trumpet and backpack ready for the walk to school, Bean flopped down on the sofa next to me. Tiberius immediately tried to squeeze in, and upon being ignored, settled for sliding down my leg and napping on Bean’s feet. Bean was fidgeting with the crêche on the coffee table, and smiling.

“What’s up?” I tried to be nonchalant. It’s so hard to get him in the right moment when he feels like talking- I hold my breath and hope.

He smiles again, to himself, as he adjusts the little sheep who follow the shepherd. “I love my school so much, mom. I love my teachers, I love Mr. W, I love playing the trumpet, I love my friends, I love PE.”

Suddenly my heart is in my throat, and as always, I have to fight the urge to hold and hug him- it would break the spell. I hold super still, waiting for him to continue. “It’s pretty different than last year, isn’t it?”

He laughs, and rolls his eyes. I love that he’s starting to pick up on teenage behavior and smarty-pants replies. His laughter comes easy these days, and he often comes home from school happy and with stories of his adventures. It’s a whole new world.

“It’s so great, mom.” He lets that just stand, and sit there, a statement of truth and happiness. If there ever was a testament of the power of a good teacher, it is this. And if there ever was any doubt that some people should not be teaching, that real, long-lasting damage can be done in a classroom, it is what happened to this child last year. The differences between then and now are profound.

So tomorrow night he has his first brass concert- his first since switching from the cello- and he is so happy. He’s confident and excited about performing. He loves his band teacher, and he is able to attend every day.

He’s got friends, he’s looking forward to the holiday party at the end of the week, he’s making honor roll, the school hasn’t called me to come in even one time, and he’s not received any disciplinary action– and he’s been praised for being a leader. This is what happens when a child is getting built up at school, and not torn down.

So yeah, teachers matter. Teachers matter so very, very much.

7 thoughts on “In Praise of the Good Teacher

  1. I was just thinking about Bean the other day and wondering if he was having better luck at school this year! I’m so happy to hear that he is! How wonderful for him AND for you!!!

  2. Thank you, Tracy. As a teacher you never know what you influence most profound experience was with a moderately academicly challenged. SpEd, 1hr per day. We connected on a personal level ad had a great year.hois mom thanks me every time she sees me for changing his schoolecxpetence. In 3rd grade they literally pushed him out of the truck and the principal had to get him to school. My year he loved coming. The pay check in the world. Unbelievable year for Bean. So happy for you all.

  3. What a wonderful thing to have happen! It makes such a difference in a kids life if they want to go to school, and look forward to what’s going on. Way to go Bean!

  4. I think of our conversation this summer about where Bean was going to attend school…thrilled that he is in a place that he is finding such success, love and praise! So, so pleased for him – and your mama heart!

  5. I keep coming back to this post, and thinking what a victory this is for you as a mother, as well as for Bean. Well, maybe a victory and a tender mercy, but you receive full credit for recognizing the blessing and not taking it for granted. I worry so much about how my kids will get along with their teachers, and this year I’ve had to hire a tutor for my oldest, not because he needs the help academically so much, as he just needs more positive interactions with supportive adults to help him believe he’s smart and capable.

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