Day 58: I get observed teaching all the time. However, some observations are more important than others. On Friday, I was lucky enough to receive the most important visitor I’ve had all year – my mother. She was accompanied by another family friend who has known me since the day I was born.
I made the kids work to figure out who she was. Given my trip to DC the day before, “congresswoman” or “senator” was a common guess. One student asked if she was my boss; I said, “Not as much as she used to be.” When they figured it out, the questions didn’t stop for minutes. How old is Mr. Adler? Did he always like exploding things? Did he always talk this much?
My mom had been talking about coming to see me teach for about a year, but the reality of having her in the room was something entirely different. She would later confirm all of this for me over dinner, but without her saying anything, I could just tell she loved seeing my personality and my kindness come across in my teaching. More than anything, I could tell just how proud she was of me and the work I was doing with my kids.
After class, I walked around introducing my mom to anyone and everyone – kids in other classes, administrators, other teachers. My mom told me she was struck by how much people liked and respected me, and how great it was to see me in that position.
Teaching can be an isolating job. You do the best you can, and usually with limited to no validation. In contrast, there is no one on the planet who is more validating, more supportive and generally more excited to see me succeed and be happy than my mother. I am so happy and proud and grateful that my mom was there on Friday to see my work, and it’s something I’m not going to forget any time soon.