While I was working on a presentation on the plane, and was extremely tired, a flight attendant came up to me and she said, “I saw your screen is really dirty so I went and found this screen cleaner for you. We don’t want you to hurt your eyes.” I watched her do these types of things not only for me, but for as many people as she could. It wasn’t that she just gave me the screen cleaner, but the way she delivered it as it wasn’t her job, she was doing something extra for another person because she could.
So I hugged her when I got off the plane and told her she was awesome. Anyone that makes you feel special, deserves a hug, right?
I thought about this in the context of schools and how as educators, we are often bombarded with so many requests, and sometimes those things that don’t really matter in the long term and can really suck the life out of a person. Yet there are so many teachers that still go above and beyond. They don’t only see things as supervision as part of their job, but as an opportunity to connect with kids. I remember watching some teachers in my school just go and play basketball with kids, not because it was their “supervision” day, but because they loved it and they knew the kids loved it as well. That extra 10 minutes that the teacher spent with those students, made a ton of difference long term. Doing that little extra for each student for some people isn’t part of their job, but just who they are.
Often I hear people trying to break down what teachers get paid an hour, based on all of the “extras” they do (marking, coaching, supervision, etc.), but you can never distinguish a monetary value on the impact that those teachers that go above and beyond make on their students. It is invaluable.
I have always said that if you only teach the curriculum to a child, you will have failed them. There is so much more to teaching than “stuff”. The best teachers know this and go above and beyond each day, not because it is their job, but because they know that these little things can make a big difference today and tomorrow.
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