I have several more stories in a similar vein, including the email I just got from the mom who put as the subject, "Tissue, please..." who, in her own way, thanked me for loving her daughter. A parent's view of his or her child is not the same as mine. I'm a parent. I know. Students will go the extra mile for me, the teacher, when they would never consider doing so for a parent. I have personal experience with this. I can relate when, in conferences, parents ask if I am sure we're talking about the same child. I uttered those same words.
And so it is that as we close the books on this school year, and we begin to turn our attention to our pupils for the upcoming school year, I will only be half-listening to the well-intentioned guidance of those who want to "prepare me." Yes, I want to know which child may need a little bit of extra reassurance to alleviate anxiety. I'm a formidable presence in the classroom. Yes, I want to hear what my colleagues who had this child last year did to successfully motivate him. But I want to know these students for who they are: young people with distinct personalities and needs. I accept THAT challenge eagerly. For in doing so, I give these young adults what they need most - the self-confidence to believe in themselves. Tally-ho!