When You Miss The Classroom...

You really miss it. I just found this letter from a parent, sent after I announced I was moving into the EdTech world. Some tears were shed:

[names changed to protect privacy]

Dear Mr. Shackelford, 

    Both Joseph and I are so sad that you won’t be his teacher next year but we are happy for your new work opportunity. Joseph says you were his favorite teacher. Ever. He thinks you were really funny and nice.
    But to paint a deeper picture of what you did last year I will step in with my thoughts. You solidified for Joseph his confidence with and is love of math. He wants to be a mechanical engineer, so it is important that he really connects with the subject. The difference between his 6th grade and his 7th grade years were night and day. He had such a good group of teachers last year–but he ALWAYS talked about math class. No matter how much he procrastinated with writing assignments or blew off practicing for band, he would ALWAYS do math. He even wished he could just do more math than his other work on more than one occasion. You took a subject that he was good at and made him feel he owned the subject. So much of his confidence in school is based on how good he is in math. So thank you for having such an amazing attitude and curriculum, both important components in teaching math.
Good luck with your new job I know you’ll do well with whatever career opportunities lie ahead.
I love how my current job lets me scale my impact far beyond what I could do in the classroom (and touched on this a few weeks ago), but there’s nothing like the day-to-day experience of changing students’ lives. My hope for my work is that it makes teachers’ lives just a little bit easier, and helps them have more experiences and connections like this one.