I recently saw this graphic on Twitter posted from @JustinTarte.  This image sums up one of my favorite quotes.  “They won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.  This quote has stuck with me over the years.  The first time that I heard it I was in graduate school working on my Masters in Education.  This quote is so true.  Even the perception of caring is important.  If we as educators who deeply care about kids don’t actually show that we care, kids will perceive that we don’t.

I remember back in grad school there was this professor that taught us about all the skills for classroom management.  One of the statements that he always said that we should take to heart is “Don’t smile until after Thanksgiving”.  I guess this was to show kids that you are all business and not to be messed with and that it would help out with classroom management issues.  Personally, I never bought into this.  The teachers that I remember in school were the ones that were funny and smiled.  

Kids need to know that their teachers are human and that they can have fun too.  It is possible to have fun with kids and smile each day while still having successful classroom management.  Perception of caring does matter.

This week I overheard a conversation between a counselor and the principal about a teacher who had advocated to teach an honors class next year over the regular counterpart. The feeling of the teacher was that the new first-year teacher who was scheduled to teach the honors class would not be able to provide the rigor that the class needed.

As I sat in my office hearing this conversation, all I could keep asking myself was “Was rigor the real reason this teacher wanted the honors class?” Later I found myself muttering quietly, “Just teach kids!”  We have this unspoken rule/policy/addendum, whatever you would like to call it, that every teacher in core classes get to teach an honors type class with the high achieving kids. Something about each teachers wanting the “prestige”. Did we really come to this that teaching is about the prestige?  I thought that teaching was about the kids?
When we change the focus from certain kids to ALL kids we truly get back to the roots of education.  Education is a humanitarian career path.  Nobody got into this profession for the money and prestige.  Everybody during their first interview and every interview after that displayed a sincere joy for kids and want to see them succeed.  Somewhere along the way, some teachers lose the focus of ALL students and focus on CERTAIN students.
Regardless, teaching is still one of the most prestigious professions.  According to a Harris Interactive poll done sporadically from 1977 to 2009, teaching is still one of the most well-respected and prestigious professions, ranking 6th under firefighters, scientists, doctors, nurses, and military officers.  While the cultural view is that teachers are held in high regard and that teaching is a very prestigious career, we need to always remember why we got into this profession, kids.