After serving an additional morning of Saturday school, I received an encouraging email from a parent of one of the students I supervised. The email thanked me for engaging the young man in a serious discussion about his essay on the facts and fiction involved in the decisions that led to the Iraq war. I enjoyed our discussion. Apparently, given his mom’s thoughtful note, the feeling was mutual.
Mr. Math Teacher:
My son, Will*, was in your session for Saturday school this past weekend.
First of all, I’d just like to thank you.
You took time to read his essay and engage him in a conversation. It has been awhile since he has made a connection with a teacher.
Will, like so many young men his age, is going through a process of perspective transformation. He has never thought of himself as an accomplished student, so your positive comments on his essay and this thought processes were very meaningful. You know how it is, no matter how many times his mother says something, the words of a third party are often more powerful.
Again, thank you.
My response to the mom’s email follows.
Hi Ms. Mom.
I enjoyed discussing Will’s essay with him Saturday. His was one of the few essays I read where a student expressed their point of view with support. It was a pleasure.
Thanks for your note, too. I rarely receive any positive emails from parents. In fact, I was concerned, initially, when I saw his name listed in the subject line. Sadly, I’ve been conditioned with that reaction in a Pavlovian way. 😦
However, it is a bright moment when the email turns out to be a supportive one!!
Mr. Math Teacher