What to say when you meet a teacher or a teacher trainee

This morning I wrote a little piece in Dutch that has been read and shared a lot the past few hours. I’ll try to translate it for this blog too.

The reason I wrote this post is because I recognized a tone about teachers I know all to well in the typical ‘back to school’-news coverage. Even worse: I know the effect of this tone on my students who will be teachers soon.

In the meantime the teacher shortage is a global phenomenon…


So that’s why I wanted to write something positive, as a kind of alternative: what to say when you meet a teacher or a teacher trainee:

Thank you for teaching our kids, we really need you.

And if you have some extra time to spare, maybe you can add this:

I know you sometimes get the question if you couldn’t find anything better,
while teaching is one of the greatest jobs on earth:
reaching kids in their world and making their world bigger.
I’m jealous because you will see the miracle of a first sentence being written,
or because you’ll be able to see the faces of our kids when they suddenly reach a new insight.

I know people always will talk about the many days off teachers have,
but we both know what those days compensate.

I know that people will say teaching has been a negative choice
(most of the time it isn’t, btw),
but we welcome every single great teacher.

So thank you that you want to help, console and correct our children.

I’ll be critical as a parent, but won’t take the side of my child by definition,
I’ll want to hear what you’ve got to say, I’ll try to understand,
and together we’ll work it out.

So thank you for your choice to teach!

I wish more people would make this choice.

So, for everybody who want to hear something similar by me or other teacher trainers, there is still room for you. But do know that we set the bar real high before we let you teach, you wouldn’t want any other way as a teacher.

Dear students, see you in September!

One thought on “What to say when you meet a teacher or a teacher trainee

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