This afternoon my partner in crime and I stayed after school to watch the kids in after-school-care put on a play. One of our former students invited us to the performance weeks ago. She'd started talking about the play in August, and comes to see us every morning and every afternoon to chat about the play. And so, even though it was held 45 minutes after our contract hours were up, and even though she didn't have a speaking role, we knew we had to stay to cheer her on.
This year, as a big first grader she stops in frequently to fill us in on all the aspects in her life. She's currently having a rough go of it in school and so we've been encouraging her to check in with us and let us know how she's doing with her behavior chart every day and tell us about the good choices she's making. It's one of those things that takes 2 minutes every morning and afternoon- not a conscious decision that we decided to make- her stopping in and "chatting" just happened naturally, and if it works for her, then why stop it?
This afternoon her mother found us after the performance, and, waiting until she had both of us- me and my partner-in-crime, told us she just wanted to thank us for spending the extra time with her daughter. She said she knew it wasn't our responsibility but that she really appreciated the time and concern we gave her little one.
It's funny- I never expect to hear thank you in this job. I don't think many people become a teacher to be appreciated. It seems so rare to hear a genuine thank you from parents. We stared at her, shocked, not knowing what to do with her words- we stuttered, declared how much we love her daughter and how 'of course! it's nothing'.
And so, even after a painful day full of co-worker drama I left work on a high note, looking forward to the next day. Those two meaningful words will get me through what's left of this crazy week.